The calendar said April 8th, but the weather was anything but spring like for the Irish Creek Invitational.
Temperatures near freezing and wind around 15 miles per hour didn’t keep Clemson from winning their second tournament of the year and freshman Turk Pettit from earning his first college victory.
“I am proud of the guys because this was as cold as I have ever been on a golf course,” said Clemson golf coach Larry Penley. “We needed to play in some adversity as we come down the home stretch of the season. I was really impressed with the way we just battled in difficult conditions,” he said.
The Tigers held a nine shot lead going into the final round over Georgia Tech. The Clemson lineup for the tournament included a junior, a sophomore and three freshmen.
Clemson’s US Amateur champion, Doc Redman, was not with the team. He was playing in the Masters.
The Tigers finished with an 859 total to top North Florida by two-shots and the team title.
Pettit, who has posted a runner-up and two third place finishes so far this year, opened the tournament with a 5-under par 66 and finished with a 209 total.
“Turk had a really good ball strike day. He drove the ball well and that is something you have to do on this course, especially with it being so wet,” said Penley.
Pettit finished three shots ahead of Jake Brown from Indiana for the win.
“I have never been this cold on a golf course,” said Pettit. “Yesterday it seemed to rain all day. It was good to see us play well in such conditions and it gives us confidence heading into next week (the Clemson Invitational) and the ACC Tournament in two weeks,” he said.
Clemson’s other two freshmen also had outstanding finishes considering the tournament playing conditions.
Kyle Cottam shot a final round 78, but still manager to finish in a tie for 8th place. Colby Patton had the best final round score for the Tigers with a 1-over par 72 to finish in a tie for 12th place.
Patton and sophomore William Nottingham each birdied their final hole, in the shot-gun start format, to help the Tigers wrap up the win.
“All the freshmen handled it well. Colby Patton led us with a consistent 72 and that was a great score today,” said Penley.
The Tigers will attempt to defend their title at their home tournament beginning on April 13th at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls. The tournament is open to the public without charge. The final round will be held on Sunday, April 15th.
Clemson will host, Florida State, Furman, Harvard, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tulane, UNC Wilmington, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin in the 54 hole tournament.