J.R. Smith arrived in his Bentley to his first collegiate golf tournament

Written By Madison Williams
JR-Smith-101221
(Getty Images)

Former NBA player J.R. Smith pulled up to his first collegiate golf tournament Monday in none other than a Bentley.

As a freshman at North Carolina A&T, the two-time NBA champion wanted to show up in style. In an interview with WFMY News 2 in Greensboro, N.C., Smith talked about how the budgets from the other schools were bigger because they all got to arrive in vans. His school’s golfers had to show up on their own, resulting in his stylish entrance.

MORE: Is J.R. Smith good at golf?

In his first two rounds at the Elon Phoenix Invitational on Monday, Smith shot 12-over (83) and 7-over (78) for a total of 19-over. While it wasn’t exactly the result Smith hoped for in his first tournament, he said he is still adjusting to college athletics and competing in golf in general.

“It was definitely a coaching experience for me, learning experience, learning how to play in a competition, learning how to play out of a rough in certain areas, playing for a school as opposed to playing for your ego and pride,” Smith said, via WFMY News 2. “It’s a lot different than playing around with your buddies at random public courses. It’s a lot more thinking, a lot more trying to land the ball in specific spots. Through that, I think I actually played better than what I’m accustomed to playing.”

MORE: Is J.R. Smith's college golf debut on TV?

The 35-year-old admitted to being nervous before Monday’s rounds, even though he played basketball in front of millions of people for 16 seasons.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Smith said. “I didn’t know coming in, getting up at 5:45 in the morning to go play golf in a tournament has never been something that I’ve been accustomed to, so my whole routine and process was completely different. I didn’t know how many teams would be here and how many great players would be here.”

Smith has a chance to improve his overall score Tuesday while he competes in two additional rounds. There are 84 golfers competing, and Smith finished Monday in spot 81. First place finished with an 11-under score. 

MORE: J.R. Smith's college golf eligibility, explained

Despite a troubling first day, Smith is just getting started. On N.C. A&T’s golf website, there are four more regular season tournaments on the schedule — two this fall and two in the spring. Smith has to qualify for each tournament to be eligible to play. 

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