Raleigh Regional: Duke, Liberty move into top 5 with low rounds

Raleigh Regional: Duke, Liberty move into top 5 with low rounds

Men

Raleigh Regional: Duke, Liberty move into top 5 with low rounds

Here’s a recap of the second round of the NCAA Division men’s golf regional at Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh, N.C.:

LIVE SCORING: Team | Individual
TEAM LEADER: Texas (24-under 544)
INDIVIDUAL LEADER: Doug Ghim, Texas (12-under 130)
IN POSITION: 2. North Carolina State (552), T-3. Georgia Tech (553), T-3. Duke (553), 5. Liberty (557)
CHASING: 6. Arizona State (559), 7. Middle Tennessee State (561), 8. Augusta (562), 9. Missouri (563)

• • •

Red-hot Devils, Flames

When looking at Duke teams in recent years, the word balance always comes to mind. This season 11 golfers have teed it up in tournaments for the Blue Devils. Junior Alex Smalley and sophomore Chandler Eaton played in all 10 events and rank Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in scoring average at 70.67 and 71.83. Eaton and senior Adam Wood each shared the individual title at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate last month while Smalley leads the squad in top-5s (five).

“One of the cool things about this team is that nobody shoulders the burden,” Duke head coach Jamie Green said. “It’s not like there’s one guy out there that says ‘If I don’t play well, the team is going to struggle.’ They all know that their teammates from shoulder to shoulder can go just as low as they can.”

Tuesday was a prime example as the Blue Devils, the fifth seed in the Raleigh Regional, shot 12-under 272 to vault seven spots up the leaderboard. The round of the day left Duke at 15 under and in a tie with top-seeded Georgia Tech for third. The Blue Devils are more importantly six shots clear of sixth-place Arizona State.

Senior Jake Shuman shot 7-under 64, the best round by a Duke player this season, to pace his team while freshman Evan Katz added a 68 after opening in 73. The other three Duke players all shot 70 on Tuesday.

But Duke wasn’t the only team to make a run in Round 2. Liberty shot 7 under and climbed two spots to fifth. The Flames had three players shoot 69 on Tuesday, including Gabe Lench, who is T-11 on the individual leaderboard to lead seventh-seeded Liberty.

The Flames have made just one NCAA Championship in school history, at Riviera in 2012.

• • •

SHORT SHOTS: Texas senior Doug Ghim continues to leader after a 5-under 66 moved him to 12 under. He leads North Carolina State’s Ben Shipp by a shot. The Longhorns lead the Wolfpack by eight in the team race. … That last time N.C. State made it to the NCAA Championship as a team was 2011, when the championship was played at Karsten Creek, this year’s host. … There were two substitutions made on Tuesday. Cal’s Finigan Tilly subbed in for Ben Doyle, who shot 4-over 75 Monday, and carded a 77. Campbell’s Max Theodorakis shot 73 after filling in for Thomas LaMorte (76). … Speaking of Cal, the second-seeded Bears are in trouble entering the final round. Cal is in 11th place at 1 over and is 12 shots back of fifth-place Liberty. Junior Collin Morikawa, a Haskins Award contender and finalist for the Hogan Award, is T-14 individually, but is behind five players whose teams are not currently in the top 5. … Middle Tennessee State is seventh and just four shots back of Liberty. The Blue Raiders haven’t made it to the NCAA Championship since 2008.

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