LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 18 Duke men’s golf team maintained its stranglehold on the lead at the Louisville Cardinal Challenge on Saturday, posting a second-round score of 277 (-7) to take a 15-shot cushion into Sunday’s final round.
Senior Alex Smalley, after flirting with a 59 on Friday and finishing with a 61, carded a five-under 66 on Saturday and is three clear of the field with 18 holes remaining. Smalley was Duke’s low-man again Saturday, followed by junior Chandler Eaton’s 69.
The Blue Devils (534, -34) lead host Louisville (549, -19) by 15 shots. USF (551), Mississippi State (559), Wake Forest (562) and North Carolina (566) comprise the top six of the 16-team field playing at the UofL Golf Club.
"Today was a solid way to back up yesterday's crazy round," said Smalley. "Usually it's difficult to back up a low round with another good one, so I am happy with how today went. I felt like I hit more fairways than yesterday, but just wasn't hitting as many close. Still had quite a number of good looks for birdie, and was able to convert some on the back. It was windier today and the pins were tougher, so it was more difficult to make birdie. We played smart golf as a team, and tomorrow we're going to keep attacking. We have a goal we want to reach tomorrow and we are going to chase it."
Sophomore Adrien Pendaries shot a 70 on Saturday and he sits in sole possession of fourth place with his 36-hole score of 134 (-8). Eaton is tied for eighth with a 137 (-5), while junior Harrison Taee is 13th (139, -3) and Evan Katz is 37th (143, +1).
Smalley has played the back nine in 12-under par over the first two rounds, backing up his 29 yesterday with a 31 today on the back. The senior had six birdies against just one bogey, with five of the birdies coming on Saturday's back nine.
Playing individually, Qi wen Wong posted his second consecutive 71 of the tournament and is tied for 30th.
Duke is on the course tomorrow morning in pursuit of the Louisville Cardinal Challenge title at 9:54 a.m. ET.