J.R. Smith has turned in his shooting sleeve for the irons as he embarks on a new chapter of his athletic career.
The two-time NBA champion, who joined the NBA straight out of high school in 2004, enrolled at North Carolina A&T over the summer to continue his education with a degree in liberal studies, joining the golf team as a walk-on.
The NCAA cleared Smith last month to play golf at the collegiate level and will play his first NCAA tournament on Monday and Tuesday at the Phoenix Invitational hosted by Elon University Alamance Country Club golf course.
All players have to qualify for every 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 by a single stroke.
The 16-year NBA veteran has honed his skills on the course over the years and according to PGATour.com, Smith currently plays to a 5 handicap.
I hated school growing up and I knew this would be a challenge, but that’s not going to discourage me one second. You have to be able to buckle down and lock into new journys and challenges coming in your life. Observe, learn and adapt.
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) August 27, 2021
“He has a good enough golf game to put up some good numbers,” NC A&T coach Richard Watkins said of Smith. “But this is 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, put meaning to it, and the heart rate changes. The grip on the club changes, and we get to see who you really are.”
Here’s everything to know about the first golf tournament of Smith’s college career, including his scores from Monday and Tuesday.
Is J.R. Smith’s college golf debut on TV?
The Phoenix Invitational won’t be broadcast on cable TV, but you can follow live updates, scores and leaderboard here from the Phoenix Invitational.
J.R. Smith golf scores at Phoenix Invitational
This section will be updated at the conclusion of Smith’s rounds on Monday and Tuesday. Follow live scoring here.
Where is the Phoenix Invitational?
- Golf course: Alamance Country Club
- Location: Burlington, N.C.
The Alamance Country Club is a par-71 course, measuring 6,867 yards. It’s located in Burlington, N.C., just outside of Greensboro.
North Carolina A&T golf schedule
|Elon University||Elon, NC||Monday, Oct. 11|
|UNC Greensboro||Grandover Resort, Greensboro, NC||Saturday, Oct. 23|
|University of Maryland Eastern Shore||Princess Anne, MD||Tuesday, Oct. 26|
|Appalachian State University||Myrtle Beach, SC||Monday, Mar. 14|
|North Carolina A&T State University||Bryan Park, Greensboro, NC||Monday, Mar. 28|