DURHAM — One might think that opening a collegiate golf career against some of the best teams in the area — on a rival’s course, no less — would be at least a little intimidating.
For the North Carolina men’s golf team's first-years, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Thanks in no small part to its new additions, the team tied with Duke for second-out-of-13 participants and started the season strong in the Rod Myers Invitational in Durham this weekend. Penn State won the event with a score of 12-under par, with the Tar Heels and Blue Devils both close behind at 10-under-par.
The tournament was hosted by the Blue Devils at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club and gave fans their first look at first-years Luis Castro, Ryan Burnett and Doug Ergood.
The duo of Burnett and Ergood earned starting spots in their first collegiate event and impressed immediately with scores of 68 and 69, respectively, in the opening round on Saturday. They were the first UNC first-years to shoot in the 60s in the same round since Ben Griffin and William Register in 2015. That pair would go on to become two of the most successful golfers in UNC history.
Burnett’s 68 was the best season-opening round by a Tar Heel since Bailey Patrick in 2013, and the best season-opener by a first-year since Kevin O’Connell’s five-under-par-67 in 2007. Burnett, a Lafeyette, Calif., native, punctuated the round with a scintillating eagle from 92 yards on the seventh hole, a par-5. He would finish five-under-par for the weekend, which put him in a tie for third place in the tournament.