RALEIGH, N.C. – The Duke Blue Devils opened up play in the Raleigh NCAA Regional Monday, rounding out their day in 10th following a three-under 281 at Lonnie Poole Golf Course (par 71, 7,273 yards).
Duke currently sits ten strokes behind tournament leader Texas, and seven strokes behind first seed—and second place—Georgia Tech.
Needing to finish as one of the top five teams to advance to Stillwater, Okla. for the NCAA Championship, the Blue Devils are five strokes out of fifth.
Chandler Eaton, Duke’s low man on the day, shot a solid 69 (-2) that featured five birdies in total. The sophomore’s only blemishes came on Nos. 2 and 12, where he would be hit with a bogey and double, respectively.
Eaton spoke on where he feels his team is at after their three-under day.
“We’re all really good players, there’s no doubt. We just have to let ourselves go play. We’re not going to say it, but I’ll say it – this really is a lot of pressure, and everyone has to have their own way of coping with that because we all want to play in the national championship. We just have to go play.”
Adrien Pendaries performed well in his first-ever NCAA Regional round, shooting a one-under 70. Despite pairs of bogeys on the front and the back, the freshman showed great poise throughout, snaring five total birdies to keep himself under par.
Senior Jake Shuman experienced a roller coaster start, garnering two bogeys sandwiched between three birdies through his first six holes. The Needham, Mass. native would then proceed to card a double on No. 2 and a bogey on No. 5, but would answer with back-to-back birdies on 7 and 8 before capping his day with par, moving him to an even 71.
Coming in as the No. 1 man for Duke’s lineup, junior Alex Smalley also finished with an even 71. The Wake Forest, N.C. local was bogeyless through his first nine, carding a pair of birdies in the process on holes 10 and 15. Following the turn, things did not go quite as smoothly for Smalley, as a bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey sequence would be the result of his final four holes.
The first half of Evan Katz’s day saw nothing but par, as the freshman’s card would not find color until No. 2 (a double bogey) after making the turn. Katz would hold steady with four straight pars following that, and would capture his first and only birdie on 7 before bogeying on 8. With the effort, Katz rounded out the day at two-over.
Head coach Jamie Green addressed his team’s status following their performance Monday, and when asked what he believed was key heading into tomorrow’s round, his answer revealed a resoluteness that has been a common theme throughout the season.
“Each guy needs to go out there making sure that he goes into each day with enough rest, with enough calm confidence, and that he’s playing with a lot of self-belief. I’m not the least bit worried whether we’re tenth or first or fifth on the leaderboard. That just shows the strength of the regional and that’s good for us. When you make it out of this regional, you know you’re going to be in a good place to compete at nationals.”
Leaderboard Through First Round:
The Blue Devils will tee off tomorrow at 8:55 a.m. on the 10th hole.
Live scoring for tomorrow will be available via golfstatresults.com, and a recap will be posted to GoDuke.com following the conclusion of the round.