CARY, N.C. – Following yesterday’s opening round of four-under golf, Duke hit the ground running Saturday, shooting a remarkable 270 (-18) to give itself sole possession of first along with a nice 10-stroke cushion ahead of ACC foe N.C. State.
Consistent stretches of steady golf proved to be the answer for Duke in the second round, as a healthy mix of par and birdie play mostly kept the team out of trouble for a majority of the day.
Every Blue Devil in the five-man lineup finished the day under par, a feat that puts the team in prime position to take the crown tomorrow afternoon.
Alex Smalley’s day was simply fantastic as the junior snared eight birdies en route to tying his lowest round of the season with a 65. Smalley’s afternoon was highlighted by four consecutive birdies from 14 to 17, with his only blemish—a bogey—coming on 8.
With the effort, the Wake Forest local will begin tomorrow’s final round with a share of third, trailing the leader by six strokes.
“I came out of the gates attacking pins and gave myself some looks,” Smalley said. “I was hitting it well so I stayed in attack mode. From 14-17 I didn't do anything different, I just made some putts and two of them were fairly long. It was also great to see everyone play well today. We've seen some good scores in qualifying but to do something like what we did today in a tournament is always special.”
Similar to yesterday, Evan Katz impressed once again, this time with a five-under 67. The freshman started out with back-to-back pars that would be followed by his only bogey of the day. After that, three straight birdies on 3, 4 and 5 set up Katz for a bogeyless back nine that included another birdie and an eagle on the par 5 No. 17.
Combining today’s round with yesterday’s one-under, Katz also sits with a share of third heading into Sunday.
“I did a good job of picking specific targets on my approach shots and committing to those lines, sometimes away from the pin,” said Katz. “I played the par 5s well also. Tomorrow it will be important to stay in the moment on every shot, and keep going through the same routine and controlling what I can control.”
Teammates Jake Shuman and Chandler Eaton both posted rounds of 69 (-3) Saturday, collectively garnering 13 birdies. Both went bogeyless prior to making the turn, but the back proved to be more difficult, as Eaton would be hit with four bogeys and Shuman, three.
“I felt like my wedges were more dialed in today,” Shuman said. “I gave myself more 4-5 footers instead of 9-10 footers. I didn't hit very many good wedges yesterday so I made sure after the round that I went to the range and hit some shots to get into a good rhythm. I still haven't gotten hot with the putter, but I'll stay confident and I'll be ready for the putts to fall tomorrow. Tomorrow is a great opportunity to gain momentum heading to the postseason.”
Eaton also spoke on his three-under day.
“I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to play well,” Eaton admitted. “Yesterday for some reason I felt like I had everything to lose, but today I had nothing to lose. I was more relaxed and just played my game. I'm going to have that same mindset tomorrow of having nothing to lose and play with a lot of freedom.”
Freshman Adrien Pendaries shot under par for the second straight day, signing for a one-under 71. In the early going, Pendaries would struggle with bogeys on 2 and 4, and later a double on 8, but would end up fighting to tally six birdies in total to keep him in the red.
Ben Silverman, playing as an individual, shot a one-over 73, notching five birdies, two bogeys and two doubles.
Adam Wood, also representing Duke as an individual, finished the day tied for 34th with teammate Silverman. Wood recorded a four-over 76 on the day, snaring a pair of birdies to his six bogeys.
Leaderboard Through Second Round:
The Blue Devils will arrive at MacGregor Downs Country Club tomorrow looking to capture their second consecutive tournament title, having won the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate earlier this month.
Live Scoring will be available via golfstatresults.com, and a concluding recap will be posted to GoDuke.com following the round.
*Note: In order to avoid potential weather issues, tee times have been bumped up one hour.