JR Smith A&T Golf
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JR Smith solid in collegiate golf debut for NC A&T

Former NBA star JR Smith and current NC A&T freshman JR Smith got his collegiate golf career off to a solid start.

Former NBA star JR Smith (FR, Millstone Township, N.J.) made his collegiate debut for the men’s golf team on Monday at the par-71, 6,867-yard Alamance Country Club golf course. 

At one point in the day, Smith had what one would consider a golf gallery following throughout the course, which is not a common sight at a collegiate golf tournament. He also had a handful of photographers and video cameras capturing his every shot. 

Then there was the golf. Smith’s first-round card included two birdies and six pars. His second-round card had one birdie and 10 pars. Smith shot a first-round 12-over 83 before shooting a second-round 7-over 78 to finish the day at 19-over 161. 

“He found out today that collegiate golf is not easy,” said N.C. A&T coach Richard Watkins. “I thought he did well. We are pleased, but we are not pleased to the point of satisfaction. But I thought he had a good showing today.”

Smith’s first collegiate birdie occurred on the par-4, 460-yard No. 7. He then birdied the par-4, 382-yard ninth. His lone second-round birdie came on the 564-yard, par-5 sixth. 

As a team, the Aggies are in 11th place after the first day with an 18-over 586. Elon, the tournament host, is in first place with a 32-under 536. Appalachian State follows them, Elon’s B Team (9-under, 559), Radford and Longwood (3-under, 565) round out the top-5. App State and Radford did not complete their respective second rounds. 

Diego Gonzalez (SR, Caracas, Venezuela) stood as the Aggies top golfer on Monday. He had a sensational Day 1, shooting a 3-under 139 over two rounds to finish tied for 17th. He posted 10 birdies over two rounds on Monday. Gonzalez was at plus-1 over the first nine holes before catching fire. 

Gonzalez fired off four birdies and carded only one bogey on the second nine. He moved to even par on the par-4, 398-yard 10th with a birdie. He then moved into the red with a birdie on 514-yard, par-5 No. 12. His bogey on 13 moved him back to even par before back-to-back birdies on 16 (par-3, 189 yards) and 17 (par-5, 506 yards) got him to 2-under for the round. 

At one point in the second round, Gonzalez found himself as low as 5-under for the tournament. When he birdied the par-5, 514-yard 12th, he had his low score of the day. Back-to-Back bogeys on 15 and 16 slid him back to 3-under before his final birdie of the day on 17. He closed the second with a bogey on 18. 

Xavier Williams (SR, Boiling Springs, N.C.) shot 4-over 146 on the day. He is tied for 51st. Diego Sanchez (SR, San Luis Potosi City, Mexico) shot a 5-over 147 to finish tied for 56th. Martin Gutierrez (SO, Madrid, Spain) posted a 12-over 154 and Anthony Ford (SO, Atlanta, Ga.) shot a 17-over 159. 

Elon’s Pedro Rabadan leads the tournament at 11-under 131. Round 3 of the Phoenix Invitational starts at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday. 

JR Smith solid in collegiate golf debut for NC A&T
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