DURHAM - North Carolina's Richard Treis believes playing the last 18 holes of golf is easier than the first.
His teammates would have to agree.
The Tar Heels shot eight strokes lower than their first effort with a 293 team score in the second round. However, the late surge was just good enough to place UNC in seventh place out of 18 teams in the 2000 Iron Duke Golf Classic with an overall score of 593.
The final round of competition will begin Monday morning.
"As a team, we definitely improved after the first 18 holes," Treis said. "The second round is always easier than the first round, especially if you play 36 holes in one day."
Treis shot a 6-over-par 78 only to make true on his belief by firing a 2-over 74 in the final 18 holes to end the day.
UNC sophomore Ramon Bescansa led all Tar Heels with a first-round even-par-72. He then slid a bit to a 2-over-74.
Bescansa cited experience as a key factor in his improved play at Duke Golf Club.
"We've played here a couple of times already this year, and I think it did help a little bit," Bescansa said. "So we're ready this year. I think we did a good job today, and we got to keep it up."
The Tar Heels, ranked 46th in the nation, will have to keep it up if they are to move up in the 18-team competition. Virginia Tech leads the field with a team score of 582, followed by Augusta State (Ga.) and N.C. State at 586.
Virginia and Wake Forest are tied for fourth at 590, and Duke stands one stroke back at 591.
Individually, North Carolina freshman Dustin Bray carded a 3-over-par 147, sophomore Whitten Mears posted a 6-over-par 150, and senior Rob Simmons shot an 8-over-par 152 for 36 holes to round out scoring for the Tar Heels.
Freshmen and sophomores are providing UNC with solid performances thus far in the young season, which comes as no surprise to UNC assistant coach Jamie Green. To Green, it is a matter of the underclassmen getting adjusted to their new-found academic workload.
"Any of the freshmen who get in the (starting) lineup, and even some of the sophomores, are just going to get better and better with their time management," Green said. "And as that gets better, the better we'll play."
UNC head coach John Inman noted the improved play from his younger golfers but said he still sees a need for more improvement.
"They're learning, and it's going to take some time for them to get that experience and be comfortable in all situations on the golf course," Inman said. "We are playing really good teams, so they have to step up and be comfortable in their position.
All teams began play at 8:30 a.m. only to finish shortly before dark in Durham.
Nevertheless, darkness was the least of Bescansa's worries after North Carolina's last tournament at the Duke Golf Club, where rain and nasty conditions made for a rough outing on the greens.
"At least we got some sun," Bescansa said. "And the greens were a little bit better."
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