FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Duke men’s golf team posted its low round of the tournament, and enjoyed one of the low rounds of the day, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Blue Devils alive in the 2019 NCAA Championship at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.
On the strength of a pair of under-par rounds on the weekend, junior Chandler Eaton will play on Monday for the NCAA individual title as one of the nine low individuals not on an advancing team. He shot two-under par 70 on Sunday, and is tied for 11th place on the individual leaderboard at one-over par 217.
As a team, the Blue Devils posted a six-over 294 on Sunday and jumped four spots in the team standings to finish in 25th place at 48-over 912. Duke came out hot on Sunday, coming within six strokes of the cutline but could get no closer.
The low 15 teams advance to Monday’s final round of stroke play, with Southern California grabbing the final spot at 36-over. Oklahoma State remains the only teams in red figures at 12-under, followed by Texas (+13), Stanford (+13) and Oklahoma (+16).
Eaton’s card on Sunday included birdies on the difficult par-4 opening hole, the ninth and 10th and the long par-3 17th. After two double-bogeys over his final three holes in Friday’s opening round, he has played the last 27 holes in three-under par.
“It’s unfortunate as a team, we’re still not in it, but we will all learn from an experience like this,” said Eaton. “I’m thrilled to keep playing tomorrow. I just love to play golf, so I’ll get another chance. I played really well and stayed super patient today. I drove the ball well – that’s really the key on this course. You just have to be in play off the tee and can attack some pins.”
Senior Alex Smalley, who played his final round as a Blue Devil, rebounded from two tough rounds to post a one-over 73, playing his final five holes in one-under par. Smalley opened his round with birdies on three of the first five holes, then birdied 14 and 15 on his way to his best round of the tournament.
“I told the guys I’d get us started well today, and I did with birdies on one and two,” said Smalley. “I really drove the ball well – I think I only missed five fairways in three rounds – so I was putting myself in position to score, but couldn’t do anything on the greens and it was frustrating all three days.”
Sophomore Adrien Pendaries capped his tournament with a two-over 74 on Sunday and finished tied for 88th at 13-over 229. Junior Steven DiLisio shot a final-round 77, while sophomore Evan Katz carded an 81.
“Today was certainly more reflective of how the team had played all year,” said head coach Jamie Green. “Although it’s not the goal, it’s certainly a positive way to walk away from an NCAA Championship event. There was a point on the front where we had some red numbers popping up and there were some possibilities of making a good run. By no means were we folding tents out there. Our guys fought. I can’t say enough about the way Chandler played, and it’s great for him to be playing another day.”
Eaton tees off Monday eight back of leader Matthew Wolff of Oklahoma State, who is seven-under through 54 holes. GOLF Channel will have live coverage from 4-7 p.m. ET.
T11. Chandler Eaton (76-71-70=217, +1)
T88. Adrien Pendaries (78-77-74=229, +13)
T110. Alex Smalley (80-80-73=233, +17)
T124. Steven DiLisio (81-77-77=235, +19)
T143. Evan Katz (79-80-81=240, +24)