RALEIGH, N.C. – In classic fashion, Duke men’s golf dominated yet another second-round day, setting themselves up perfectly for Wednesday’s finale where they hope to punch their ticket to the NCAA Championship as one of the top five teams in the Raleigh Regional.
Shooting a 12-under 272 that pushed them to a share of third place, the Blue Devils secured the lowest second round of the field, edging tournament-leader Texas who carded a collective 11-under performance.
Senior Jake Shuman seemingly channeled the mastery he displayed earlier this month at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada Qualifying Tournament where he had quite possibly the best tournament of his career, shooting a bogey-less 64 (-7) on Tuesday, the lowest for a Blue Devil this season.
Shuman’s 64 eclipsed teammate Alex Smalley’s previous low of 65, a mark the junior tallied both in the fall and again this spring.
With the effort, the Needham, Mass. native bounced into the top-10, taking a share of sixth heading into Wednesday.
Shuman spoke to how his performance in early May helped get him in the right mindset for this week.
“Obviously earlier in the month playing well in Canada has helped me set a better way to prepare, so it’s given me a little more confirmation that what I’m doing is working. Today I kind of just made it simple, and when I had a good number I kind of attacked and laid back when I needed to.”
Evan Katz bounced back nicely from yesterday’s two-over 73, answering with a three-under 68 that was highlighted by four birdies.
The freshman recorded his only bogey on his fifth hole of the day, and would remain clean through the remaining thirteen.
Katz addressed his mentality after the round, crediting accuracy for his success on Tuesday.
“Pretty much had the same gameplan as yesterday, just kept hitting a lot of greens, giving myself looks and I did a little better job of controlling my speed which helped me make a couple more putts. I think we just need to control what we can control, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, because if we do everything to the best of our ability, I think it’ll take care of itself.”
Smalley improved a stroke following yesterday’s even 71, while Pendaries duplicated his efforts, making it back-to-back days of one-under play.
Eaton’s first round of 69 (-2), combined with today’s 70 (-1) leaves him at three-under with a share of 14th on the leaderboard.
Head coach Jamie Green discussed following the round the pleasure in knowing his lineup is well-rounded, and how that’s something that can and has carried this team in environments such as these.
“One of the cool things about this team is that nobody shoulders the burden,” observed Green. It’s not like there’s one guy out there that says ‘If I don’t play well, the team is going to struggle.’ They all know that their teammates from shoulder to shoulder can go just as low as they can. These are days that happen and it was a good to have happen for us today.”
Leaderboard Through Two Rounds:
The Blue Devils will cap off their tournament tomorrow with the third and final round, bringing with them a score of 15-under, trailing Texas by nine strokes.
There is a threat of rain for Wednesday, but no announcement regarding a delay or cancellation has been made yet. Any updates can be found by visiting www.twitter.com/dukemgolf.