Zack Gordon will not need an orange jacket when he gets to Clemson, because he already has one.
The Gaffney High School senior won the Orange Jacket championship at the Pickens Country Club in 2015.
He really didn’t get an Orange Jacket, but he did add his name to a list of junior golfers who went on to have success in college after winning the tournament.
South Carolina grad Matt NeSmith, Clemson grad Carson Young and Wofford grad Andrew Novak are just three of the Orange Jacket winners who are now nearing their career goal of playing on the PGA Tour.
Gordon has the same goal and that was a big reason he picked Clemson for college and for golf.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Clemson and to play golf,” said the new recruit. “I feel like it is the best place to help me make it to the next level,” he said.
Gordon added a Carolinas major to his resume last summer when he won the CGA’s South Carolina Junior Match Play championship. He had runner-up finishes in The Blade and The Beth Daniel Junior Azalea.
Among his top-10s in the last year was a third place finish at the South Carolina High School AAAAA championship and four fourth place finishes.
His fourth place finish at the SCGA Amateur was even more impressive when you consider he opened the tournament with a 75 and barely made the cut.
“I think I was tied for like 80th after the first round, but I fought my way back and finished only four shots back,” said Gordon.
A final round 65 tied Gordon with two other golfers for the best round shot in the championship at The Country Club of Florence.
Gordon did not do a lot of shopping around for a college golf program. He had offers from several schools, but took only one other visit besides Clemson.
“Clemson just has such a great atmosphere. Everything connected with the golf team is great and it is just a fun place to be,” he said.
With Doc Redman, the US Amateur champion, All-ACC golfer Bryson Nimmer and some talented freshmen on the team Gordon knows his game will need to improve to have the opportunity to play early.
“I’ve got a pretty good short game. I’ve been able to use it to make up for some things I need to do better. In college you play longer and harder golf courses so I got to get better off the tee,” said Gordon.
Gordon will be joined by Jacob Bridgeman from Inman in this year’s recruiting class. Bridgeman won his Orange Jacket at the tournament in Pickens in 2016.