It was a long day with plenty of pressure packed golf, but when all the strokes were counted and the points put up on the board the Clemson Tigers earned the opportunity to play for the ACC Championship on Monday.
Senior Colby Patton sealed the win with a birdie on his 20th hole to send Clemson to the conference finals.
Patton and the Wolfpack’s Carter Graf were tied on 11 holes during their match and neither golfer ever led by more than a hole.
“I knew if I could just make a birdie I could win this match,” said Patton. “But I just couldn’t put him (Graf) away. Finally, I hit it down the middle on 11 and had 116 to the pin. I hit a good wedge to within 4-feet and made the putt for the win,” said the son of Clemson’s first US Amateur champion Chris Patton.
Patton’s win meant Turk Pettit’s match with former SCGA Junior champion Christian Salzer from Sumter was tied at the time and went on the scoreboard the same way.
Clemson had finished the stroke play portion of the championship on Sunday morning in second place. The Tigers shot a 3rd round 2-under par 278 to pass NC State.
North Carolina finished on top of the 54 hole stroke play tournament. The Tarheels shot an amazing 26-under par for the tournament, shaving 5-more shots off par in the final round to finish 15 shots in front of Clemson.
Jacob Bridgeman and Kyle Cottam each shot 2-under par 68s in their final round to help the Tigers finish as the runner-up.
Cottam finished in 4th place while Bridgeman finished in a tie for 5th.
UNC’s Peter Fountain was the ACC Tournament medalist. The Tarheel freshman finished with a 10-under par total to top NC State’s Benjamin Shipp by a shot for the conference individual title.
The top-2 Tigers in stroke play delivered the first wins in Match Play.
Cottam defeated Easton Paxton 3&2 and Bridgeman was a 2&1 winner over Benjamin Shipp from NC State. Shipp was the runner-up in stroke play.
Zach Gordon battled to the 19th hole before dropping his match, leaving Turk Pettit and Colby Patton in close matches still on the course.
While Pettit and his opponent Salzar battled even to their final hole, Patton delivered the winning birdie for his and the team’s win.
“That was some performance by Colby,” said Clemson head coach Larry Penley. “He hit a great shot on 11 to have a short birdie putt, but the par on the first playoff hole was amazing. What an up and down,” said the coach.”
FSU was the highest ranked ACC team coming into the tournament. The Seminoles were the fourth seed, but didn’t have any trouble knocking out the top seeded Tarheels.
FSU scoreed a pair of quck victories including a 5&4 win by Frederik Kjettrup over tournament medalist Fountain.
The Seminoles routed UNC 4-1 to advance to face Clemson on Monday.
“It’s really quality to get a win against a team that easily won the stroke play portion,” Seminole head coach Trey Jones said. “We have to turn around and get out and go play a Clemson team that is spirited, with their coach retiring and this is his last ACC Championship. We look forward to tomorrow morning.,” he said.
The ACC Network Extra will carry the Match Play finals live beginning at 9 a.m.
The league champion recives an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament.
ACC Match Play results from GolfStat http://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=match&tid=22381