The difference a week can make is stark.
Just seven days after a second-place finish in Durham at the season-opening Rod Myers Invitational, the North Carolina men’s golf team shot 3-over-par to finish sixth in the Louisville Cardinal Challenge this weekend.
Both UNC and Duke competed in the Rod Myers Invitational and the Louisville Cardinal Challenge, yet the two teams had drastically different showings this weekend. Last weekend, North Carolina tied the Blue Devils with a score of 10-under-par. A week later, the Tar Heels shot 40 strokes worse than their conference rival.
Duke won the event with a blistering 37-under-par showing for the tournament. Along with the Blue Devils, UNC finished behind Louisville (-20), Wake Forest (-13), South Florida (-8), and Mississippi State (-2).
In the first round on Friday, North Carolina shot an even-par-284, led by a 69 from junior Austin Hitt. Though finishing even-par is good enough to stay in contention at some tournaments, that was not the case this weekend. The Demon Deacons and the Cardinals both finished the first round at 16-under-par, and Duke pulled far ahead with a 27-under-par finish. After round one, North Carolina fell to ninth place.
Following minor improvement on Saturday, UNC stood at sixth place, with a 2-under-par day. First-year Doug Ergood’s 3-under-par 68 and sophomore Ryan Gerard’s 70 were the best finishes for the team in the second round. Ergood was one of the highlights for North Carolina in an otherwise unimpressive weekend.
After a 71 in his opening round, Ergood’s 68 was the best of his young collegiate career, edging out his 69 in the first round at Duke last week. Ergood then shot another 68 to finish 6-under-par on the weekend, tying for an impressive fifth out of all competitors. He was also one of two players without a bogey in the final round.
The Tar Heels were in position to slide up a few spots going into Sunday, but a number of miscues led to a 5-over-par outing on the day. The round was filled with bogies, including four on the seventh hole alone, and three double bogies.
First-year Ryan Burnett, one week removed from placing third and leading the Tar Heels in Durham, finished 7-over-par in his final round, including a 6-over-par line on the front nine. He would finish tied for 77th with a 12-over-par showing on the weekend.