JR Smith has turned in the shooting sleeve to the irons as he embarks on a new chapter in his athletic career.
The two-time NBA champion, who joined the NBA just out of high school in 2004, enrolled at the North Carolina A&T over the summer to continue his education with a degree in liberal studies and joined the golf team as a walk- on.
The NCAA approved Smith last month for college-level golf and will play its first NCAA tournament Monday and Tuesday at the Phoenix Invitational, which hosts the Elon University Alamance Country Club golf course.
All players must qualify for each tournament in practice unless they finish first or second on the team at a previous event. In Smith’s case, he advanced in the team’s qualifying tournament with a single stroke.
MORE: How JR Smith joined the NC A&T golf team as a walk-on
The 16-year-old NBA veteran has honed his skills on the field over the years, and according to PGATour.com, Smith currently plays a 5-handicap.
I hated growing up in school and I knew this would be a challenge, but it would not deter me for a second. You need to be able to buckle and lock in new journals and challenges that come into your life. Observe, learn and adapt.
“He has a good enough golf game to put up some good numbers,” NC A&T coach Richard Watkins said of Smith. “But that’s what I tell people. If you want to find out how good a golfer really is, put the word tournament or money in front of the round. Playing when there is nothing on the line is one thing. But make sense of it and the pulse changes. The grip on the club changes and we’ll see who you really are. ”
Here’s all there is to know about the first golf tournament of Smith’s college career, including his scores from Monday and Tuesday.
Is JR Smith’s college golf debut on TV?
Phoenix Invitational is not broadcast on cable TV, but you can follow live updates, scores and leaderboard here from Phoenix Invitational.
JR Smith golf scores at the Phoenix Invitational
This section will be updated at the conclusion of the Smiths rounds on Monday and Tuesday. Follow the live scoring here.
Where’s Phoenix Invitational?
Golf course: Alamance Country Club
Location: Burlington, NC
Alamance Country Club is a par-71 course measuring 6,867 yards. It is located in Burlington, NC, just outside Greensboro.