DURHAM, N.C. – Paced by Adrien Pendaries and Chandler Eaton, the No. 18 Duke men’s golf team posted a 2-under par score of 574 on Saturday and enters Sunday’s final round nine back of the lead at the ninth annual Rod Myers Invitational at the Duke Golf Club.
Pendaries followed his first-round 73 with a second-round 70 and sits in a tie for 12th place at 1-under par. Eaton also carded rounds of 73 and 70, and joins Pendaries in a log-jam at 1-under.
“I hung in there today,” said Pendaries. “I played some pretty erratic golf all day but missed it in smart spots and made a bunch of pars. It was nice to shoot under par this afternoon to build momentum for tomorrow. Looking forward to battling it out alongside the boys tomorrow and trying to shoot a low number.”
The round of the day for Duke came from junior Harrison Taee, who backed up his 70 (-2) in the morning with a career-low round of 67 (-5) in the afternoon. Taee finds himself alone in second place – six back of tournament leader John Pak from FSU, who shattered the tournament’s scoring record with his opening-round 62 (-10).
“I essentially put all my focus today into sticking to the plan,” said Taee. “I’ve worked hard this week figuring out the slopes on the greens and where to miss it on certain shots. I was just trying to stay calm and approach every shot the same.”
Taee posted eight birdies over his two rounds, and eagled the par-5 11th hole in the opening round. He closed strong on Saturday with consecutive birdies on 14, 15 and 16, before finishing with back-to-back pars on the tough 17th and 18th.
“Thrilled for Harrison to see him play very good golf for 36 holes,” said head coach Jamie Green. “His last putt of the day was probably the shot of the day for us, to drain a 25-footer and get up and down for par from the bunker on 18. That was big.”
The five Blue Devils in the lineup were tightly packed after 36 holes, with Qi wen Wong (Even) one shot back of Pendaries and Eaton. Shrish Dwivedi (+1) is one back of Wong, and Alex Smalley (+2) one back of Dwivedi.
“As a team, we just didn’t get off the best start, and we were in the rough too often,” said Green. “The course is magnificent shape and the greens were as good as we’ve seen them. The crew here at the course did an incredible job in getting the course ready. The rough, though is thick and strong and the course has some teeth. So hats off to John Pak from Florida State. He kept it in the short stuff all day, had wedges into greens, and was able to put up a low number.”
Also individually for Duke, Evan Katz (-1) is tied for 12th after rounds of 72 and 71. Freshman Quinn Riley concluded his Saturday at 4-over, which included a 1-under 71 in the afternoon, while Steven DiLisio is 5-over.
“We didn’t close as we would have liked today, but we are in the final group tomorrow and we have a chance,” said Green. “We just have to come out tomorrow and try and put some pressure on the course, and we have to play the full 18 holes.”
Duke is paired with Penn State and North Carolina in the final round, and the Blue Devils are off the first tee at 9:10 a.m. Live scoring can be found at www.golfstat.com.