PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – In its opening action of the spring, Duke men’s golf knocked out the first two rounds of the Sea Best Invitational at the TPC Sawgrass-Dye Valley Course (Par 70, 6,858 yards).
At the conclusion of Monday’s play, the Blue Devils saw themselves sitting 12th on the leaderboard after shooting a 584 (+24). Only four of the 14 teams participating in the event finished the first day below par.
Sophomore Chandler Eaton had the best day of the six participating Blue Devils, shooting consecutive rounds of 71 (+1) to finish Monday at two over. In the first round, a double bogey on No. 9 and a bogey on No. 10 would give way to a pair of birdies on 14 and 16. The Alpharetta, Ga. native managed to snare three birdies in the second round, but would also be hit with a pair of bogeys and a double. Eaton sits with a share of 30th on the leaderboard.
Adrien Pendaries started off his day strong, wielding a three-under 67 in his first round which included four birdies and an eagle on No. 1. The second round did not feature the same amount of under-par play, as the freshman carded five bogeys and a double to go with his lone birdie on No. 2. Pendaries rounded out the day with a score of 143 (+3) and is tied for 37th.
Also securing a score of 143 (+3) to show for two rounds of play was junior Alex Smalley. His first round included a quartet of bogeys which was broken up by three consecutive birdies on 11, 12 and 13, resulting in an opening score of 71 (+1). Smalley’s afternoon trip around the course saw yet another trio of birdies; however, three bogeys and a double would push him to two over for the round and three over for the day. The Wake Forest, N.C. local is currently tied for 37th.
Senior Adam Wood shot back-to-back rounds of 78 (+8) to finish his day at 156 (+16). Hole No. 10 was not kind to Wood, resulting in a triple bogey in round 1 and a quadruple bogey in round 2. In total through two rounds, Wood managed to tally six birdies en route to finishing the day 76th.
Freshman Evan Katz shot a 157 (+17) Monday, resulting from an opening round of 78 (+8) and a follow-up effort of 79 (+9). Katz, who hails from Washington D.C., enters Tuesday at 77th.
Representing Duke as an individual was Qi wen Wong, who finished the day at 13 over par and tied for 72nd. Despite starting his day with a 79 (+9), the freshman improved by five strokes in round 2 with a 74 (+4). This was in part due to three birdies, two of which came back-to-back on Nos. 15 and 16.
Head coach Jamie Green remained positive following the first day of the tournament, noting it's what has to happen in order for success to be achievable. "To be a championship team, we're going to have to be more resilient," Green said. "Easier said than done, perhaps, but it is a fact. They've got all the shots, and the hit an awful lot of good ones, but we're going to have to tighten up the loose ones and manage them better when they occur."
Green also was pleased with a number of highlights from the first two rounds. "To highlight a few bright spots, Alex and Chandler really battled, staying positive through some adversity and hung in there to post decent scores. Adrien played solid golf all morning and capped that morning round with a terrific eagle-birdie finish to get in the red."
Live scoring will be available for tomorrow’s third and final round at golfstatresults.com