Stillwater, Okla.—Junior Clemson golfer Bryson Nimmer shot a career best 64 in the first round that finished on Saturday morning at the 2018 NCAA National Golf Tournament at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. Nimmer’s eight-under par round is in first place individually by three shots, and he has led the Tigers to a tie for third place standing with Oklahoma at three-under-par after the first round.
Northwestern, who played its entire round on Friday, shot an eight-under-par 280 and Texas Tech is second at 284. Clemson and Oklahoma are at 285 and Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt are tied for fifth at 287. Kent State shot an even-par 288 to stand in seventh place.
Nimmer’s round was the best in Clemson history for an NCAA National Tournament, breaking the previous mark for 65 by Mark Swygert at the 1994 tournament in McKinney, Texas, and by Kyle Stanley at the 2007 tournament at Williamsburg, Va. It was also the low round by any Clemson golfer this year. Swygert’s was on a par 72 course and Stanley on a par 70.
“Bryson was solid in every phase of the game, especially putting,” said Head Caoch Larry Penley. “He made a 10-footer for par on the first hole, then an 18-footer for par on the second hole. Then he was off and running making birdies.” Nimmer made eight birdies, tied for the most by a Clemson player this year and had 10 one-putt greens. He only had one birdie putt longer than 12 feet and that was a 25-footer from off the green at 17. His round included birdies on the 10th and 17th holes, the two most difficult holes on the course.
“Bryson was putting up hill most of the day and that is important on this course. His distance control with his irons was fabulous. He has been playing so well the last half of the season.”
Nimmer’s 64 was the low NCAA Tournament round at Karsten Creek. The previous mark was 65 by John Peterson of LSU in 2011. Peterson is now on the PGA Tour.
It was Nimmer’s ninth consecutive round under par and he has now gone consecutive rounds without making a bogey. He has a streak of 52 consecutive holes without a bogey dating to the second hole of the second round of the Bryan Regional and is 17-under-par for his last 42 holes.
He had five birdies and no bogeys in the last round of NCAA Regional in Bryan, Texas and had eight birdies and no bogeys in his first round of the national that was played over the first two days.
Nimmer made five birdies and five pars on Friday before play was halted due to darkness. He then had three more birdies and five more pars on Saturday morning.
Doc Redman provided great support for Nimmer with a three-under-par 69. Redman made an eagle on the first hole, then made 12 straight pars before making a birdie on the par 5 14th hole. He made his only bogey on 17, then made a closing birdie on the par five 18th hole. It was Redman’s eight consecutive under-par round and his sixth round in the 60s out of his last seven.
Kyle Cottam shot one-under-par 71 in the first round. “Kyle played solid as a rock,” said Penley. “He shot 33 on the front, then was three-over on the first three holes of the back before we had to stop last night. To come out and shoot one-under for his six holes this morning was huge.
Clemson’s two other freshmen, Colby Patton and Turk Pettit, had nine over par 81s in the first round. Pettit, Clemson’s third best scorer with a 70.60 average, struggled with his driver on Friday and was nine over for 11 holes. But he did play his seven holes in even par on Saturday morning. Patton was seven over for his first 11 holes, settled down for his next five, but made triple bogey on the difficult 17th hole coming in.
After the round, Penley announced that he would take advantage of a new NCAA rule and put William Nottingham into the lineup for the second round in place of Pettit. He has the option to put Pettit back in the lineup in a future round.