STILLWATER, Okla. – Heavy morning rainstorms stole the show at the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships on Friday, delaying the highly-anticipated start by nearly three and a half hours on the tournament’s opening day.
Duke—who was originally scheduled to tee off from 7:55-8:39 a.m. CST—managed to get Evan Katz through his first hole off No. 10 around 10:30 a.m. Just moments after his tap-in putt, the horns sounded signaling suspension of play, ultimately delaying the Blue Devils until roughly 11:45 a.m. when they would finally resume action.
The Blue Devils would eventually complete their first round, garnering a three-over 291 to finish tied for 11th at the demanding Karsten Creek (par 72, 7,460 yards).
Senior Jake Shuman appeared to benefit from having prior experience in Stillwater, serving as the team’s low man in the opening round. The Needham, Mass. native posted a two-under 70, missing the fairway just once. Shuman also snared a trio of birdies on Nos. 11, 18 and 7.
“I drove the ball really well,” said Shuman. “That’s a goal of mine this week—to keep the ball in front of me. It’s nice to have played a tournament here two years ago in the regional, so I knew how it would play in a tournament condition.”
Shooting even in his first round was sophomore Chandler Eaton, responding nicely after getting hit with two bogeys through his first four holes. Eaton would make birdie on 14, make the turn, and birdie again on 3 before rounding out his day with a consistent dose of solid par play.
Alex Smalley had a shaky start to his morning, pushing his score to five-over through six holes after a triple on 10 and bogeys on 13 and 15. However, the junior heated up after that, carding birdie on 18, 1, 3 and 5 while limiting the damage to just one final bogey on 4.
Teammates Adrien Pendaries and Evan Katz posted scores of 75 (+3) and 76 (+4), respectively, combining for four birdies on the day.
With Friday seeing a number of pairings not teeing off until as late as 6:22 p.m., current leaderboard standings will shift throughout the remainder of the evening.
Live updates regarding leaderboard rankings as well as a potential suspension due to darkness can be followed at golfstatresults.com.
The Blue Devils will continue NCAA Championship play tomorrow, slated to tee off at a time to be determined later tonight. The team’s second-round start time is contingent on the amount of golf the second half of the field manages to get in before dark.
On a day that presented challenges to the entire field, head coach Jamie Green believes his team handled the adversity well.
“One thing you don’t want in a national championship is a roller coaster,” noted Green. “Some things you definitely can’t control. You can’t do anything about the weather. We had lightning strikes as we were waking up in the morning. I like the fact that our guys are ready for anything and expect nothing. They’re planning on success, but they’re not expecting it to be a certain way, and I think that’s the way you have to approach a national championship—be ready for anything.”