NEW LONDON, N.C. – Junior Chandler Eaton led the way for Duke in the final round of the 2019 ACC Championship, carding a three-under 69 in brisk and windy conditions, as the Blue Devils posted a tied-fourth finish Saturday at the Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
Eaton placed tied-ninth on the individual leaderboard at five-under 211 for the 54-hole event. The junior opened with a 64 on Thursday – a Duke record for the ACC Championship – and bookended the tournament with Saturday's 69 for his best career finish in an ACC Championship.
His card Saturday included birdies on holes Nos. 2, 4, 10 and 13 and his only blemish being a bogey on the par-4 ninth hole. The Alpharetta, Ga., native played even par over the final five holes to post a sub-70 round for the third time in his ACC Championship career.
“It was a really good round today and I just tried to stay patient,” said Eaton. “Obviously we would have liked a better team finish, but scoring was really tough for everyone today. There were some moments today where my round could have gone either way, but I made a great par-save on the fifth and that kept me motivated.”
Eaton led two other Blue Devils who finished in the top 20 as sophomore Adrien Pendaries posted a two-under 70 on Saturday for a 54-hole total of three-under 213, which was tied for 16th. He wrapped a pair of 70’s around a 73 and has played under par in four of his six career rounds in the ACC Championship.
Senior Alex Smalley shot two-under 214 for the tournament and finished tied for 18th. He was two-over 74 in Saturday’s final round.
“My hat is off to Chandler,” said head coach Jamie Green. “He had a tremendous first round and then a couple of hiccups and bad breaks in the afternoon on Thursday. For him to regroup mentally and physically and come back out on a pretty challenging scoring day and shoot 69 is pretty cool to see.”
Georgia Tech claimed the overall team championship with 37-under 827, while Florida State’s John Pak won individual medalist honors by a stroke over Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree. Virginia finished second in the team standings (842), followed by Wake Forest (845), Duke (852) and Florida State (852) to round out the top five.
The Blue Devils held the 18-hole lead after shooting 271 in Thursday’s morning round, but the teams were forced to play 36 holes on Thursday and finish with 18 on Saturday. After ideal weather on Thursday, Friday was washed out by rain and Saturday was brisk with high winds and cooler temperatures.
Sophomore Evan Katz shot 76 on Saturday and finished the tournament tied for 38th at four-over 220. Junior Steven DiLisio was tied for 52nd at eight-over 224.
“It’s a process, and that was a good experience for everyone,” said Green. “You just never know when conditions are going to change. We unfortunately hit a little bit of a wall, whether it was energy or focus. Whatever it was, we just didn’t get off to the start in the second round that we did in the first round. To play at this level and with these team, it’s a very deep conference. But each team is deep as well. We’ve got to be able to have four scores, and it will make a big difference for us in regionals and hopefully nationals to have all five guys in a good place. Our guys battled, and I’m certainly proud of that.”
The No. 9 Blue Devils will now await the NCAA Men’s Golf Selection Show, scheduled for Wednesday, May 1 at 9 p.m. on the Golf Channel, to learn the postseason fate.
Duke at ACC Championship (t-4th; 271-292-289=852, -12)
t-9th Chandler Eaton (64-78-69=211, -5)
t-16th Adrien Pendaries (70-73-70=213, -3)
t-18th Alex Smalley (67-73-74=214, -2)
t-38th Evan Katz (70-74-76=220, +4)
t-52nd Steven DiLisio (73-72-79=224, +8)
1. Georgia Tech (276-270-281=827, -37)
2. Virginia (280-283-279=842, -22)
3. Wake Forest (290-276-279=845, -19)
t-4. Duke (271-292-289=852, -12)
t-4. Florida State (278-285-289=852, -12)
6. NC State (287-286-283=856, -8)
7. Clemson (275-295-290=860, -4)
8. Louisville (286-293-283=861, -3)
9. Virginia Tech (282-288-294=864, E)
10. North Carolina (297-282-289=868, +4)
11. Notre Dame (286-288-295=869, +5)
12. Boston College (294-291-290=875, +11)