Clemson coach Larry Penley talks about his team’s play in the Clemson Invitational and the upcoming ACC Tournament.
The Clemson Tigers dug a hole for themselves in the first round of the Clemson Invitational and never could completely recover.
The Tigers had won the first two Invitationals they hosted at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, but could not catch Boston College for the top spot in this year’s event.
The Tigers fell behind Notre Dame and the Eagles early in the 54 hole event and scrambled to get back within two shots of the leader by the end of the tournament.
“The first round was kind of tough,” said Clemson golf coach Larry Penley. “We got out of the gate slow and Notre Dame and Boston College played great all week,” he said.
The Tigers were 10-shots behind Notre Dame at the end of the first round. Boston College surged to the lead in the second round and the Tigers trailed the Eagles by 8 shots going into the final round.
“We kept trying to fight back. BC tried to help us, but we didn’t have enough game to try and take it from them,” said the Tigers coach.
Clemson played the tournament without Doc Redman. The US Amateur champion was playing in the RBC Heritage where he made the cut and finished at 2-under par.
Penley’s line-up included three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. A difficult course with demanding greens and enough wind to make most shots challenging took its toll on the young line-up.
Only freshman Kyle Cottam was able to shoot an under par round to open the tournament. Cottam carded a 1-under par 71.
In the second round, Turk Pettit shot the second best round of the tournament. The freshman finished with a 67. His 5-under par round helped the team to what would be their best score in the tournament, but still left the Tigers with a great deal of ground to make up.
In the final round Boston College backed up to shoot a 9-over par round. The Tigers improved to shoot a 3-over par round, but the team was only able to make up six of the eight shots they needed to catch the Eagles.
In the final round, Pettit and junior Bryson Nimmer each shot 1-under par rounds of 71. It helped Pettit move into a tie for second place and Nimmer picked up two spots to fourth place in the individual standings.
Cottam finished in seventh place while Colby Patton and William Nottingham ended up in a tie for 38th place.
Penley believed his team lost some of their confidence after their poor start in the tournament.
“We have got to get our confidence back. Pettit is fine. Cottam is hanging in there, but it’s not our best golf,” said the coach.
Redman will be back with the team for the ACC tournament starting on Friday, April 20th at the Old North State Club in New London, NC.
“I think they will get some confidence back when we have Doc back in the lineup, but we are going to have to play a lot better if we are going to have a chance at the ACCs,” Penley said.
The Tigers won the ACC title the last time the event was played at the club. Last year the Tigers finished second when the conference tournament was held at Musgrove Mill near Clinton.
“That is true, but unfortunately Bryson Nimmer is our only player who has played that golf course (The Old North State Club). We will have to do a really good job in Thursday’s practice round and make sure we know those greens pretty well,” concluded Penley.
The Furman Paladins finished in seventh place. Kellen Harper was the top Paladin in the field finishing at 1-over par in a tie for fifth place.
The Wofford Terriers finished in ninth place.