STILLWATER, Okla. – For the third-straight day, the Karsten Creek Golf Club course record was shattered, as the Duke Blue Devils posted a 12-under 276 to skyrocket to the top of the leaderboard at the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship, hosted by Oklahoma State University.
Duke’s 12-under showing was three strokes better than the previous course record, which was set by No. 6 Alabama during Saturday’s second round. The Blue Devils’ 10-under 854 is also a 54-hole record for competitive events played at Karsten Creek.
“I think they try to stay in their own world, which is the right way to go,” Duke coach Jamie Green said. “But that being said, all five guys were playing pretty well. All five guys had it under par for a while, and for a good portion of the round. From a coaching standpoint, there is no stress because they are all firing on pretty high cylinders. There is a freedom because of that and I like to think that the freedom started before we even played.”
Head coach Jamie Green on his team’s record-breaking performance, and the importance of preparing for tomorrow’s round: pic.twitter.com/tyalBP1mxn— Duke Men's Golf (@DukeMGOLF) May 27, 2018
Chandler Eaton was one of the anchors in the Blue Devils’ record-setting round, as the sophomore posted a 3-under 69 on Sunday. Eaton recorded six birdies and an eagle during his round and now sits tied for seventh place on the individual leaderboard, five shots back of the clubhouse leader.
"I feel, obviously, really happy with the score,” Eaton said. “I'm not going to say I was expecting that, obviously, but you have to expect the unexpected out here so I'm not too frustrated about it. I putted really well and just stayed in the moment, as cliché as that sounds. This is right where I want to be.”
Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer is the current leader in the clubhouse after shooting a 68 to get to 9-under for the week. The junior broke the Karsten Creek course record during her first round, posting an 8-under 64 before following it up with a 3-over 75 in the second-round.
Nimmer notched six birdies and only two bogeys in Sunday’s round. His 207 is the lowest 54-hole score recorded at Karsten Creek, surpassing Josh McCumber’s 211 at the 1996 Karsten Creek Collegiate.
"I think all of us, anyone playing in this, is always aspiring to try and win,” Nimmer said about sitting atop the leaderboard through three rounds. “So, it's always your goal to try and win the tournament, obviously. But on top of that, you are also doing it for your teammates because you want to put them in the best position possible. You have their backs in any way you can."
Ten individuals are currently at 4-under or better, including Oklahoma State sophomore Viktor Hovland, who sits tied for seventh at 4-under. Hovland matched Nimmer and Duke’s Evan Katz for the best round on the course Sunday, posting a 4-under 68 to help get the top-ranked Cowboys to 7-under for the week.
"It looked like we had a really good round going at the turn, so we let a really good round get away, but we're still in good position,” OSU coach Alan Bratton said. “I talked to Viktor (Hovland) a little bit after his round. He didn't hit it very well off the back nine but he battled and hung in there. I like where we're sitting in the overall score. The goal is to try to get a little bit better every day, and I think we shot the same score we did yesterday. We'll just keep building momentum and get ready for another round tomorrow."
No. 13 Texas Tech is the only other team under par through three rounds of play at Karsten Creek. The Red Raiders currently are 3-under for the week after posting a 290 on Sunday.
The field was cut to the top 15 teams and the top nine individuals not on an advancing team after Sunday’s round. The remaining teams and individuals will begin the final round of stroke play Monday morning with the day’s first tee time set for 11:30 a.m. CT, with the NCAA individual champion to be crowned tomorrow night. It will also be the “Race To Eight” with the top eight teams at the end of the day on Monday advancing to the team match play quarterfinal round which will be held on Tuesday, May 29 at Karsten Creek.