Eugene, Ore.—Graduate senior Stephen Behr and freshman Bryson Nimmer both shot even par 70s to lead Clemson to a 291 team score and a 19th place standing out of 30 teams after the first round of the NCAA National Tournament at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon.
Clemson is in 19th place, but is just nine shots off the lead, which is held by Arkansas and TCU at two over par 282. Additionally, Clemson is just one shot off the 15-team cutline that will be used after the third round on Sunday. Nine teams are either 10 over or 11 over entering the second round on Saturday. The top 15 teams will advance to Monday’s fourth round. The top eight teams after Monday will advance to match play.
The Tigers shot two-under-par on the front nine and stood in second place, just one shot behind Florida State at the time. But the winds kicked up on the back nine Friday afternoon and that wave of teams saw their scores soar. Florida State played its second nine in seven over and dropped from first to sixth. Seven of the top 15 teams in the nation, including No. 1 ranked Stanford, are not among the top 15 teams after the first round.
The Tigers played the back nine in 13 over par, including six over par on the last two holes. Those two holes were the difference between Clemson ranking sixth and 19th after the first round.
Saturday, Clemson and the other top 15 teams in the field entering the tournament will play the morning wave, while the teams ranked 16-30 will have to face the winds in the afternoon.
Clemson had 18 birdies for the day, the most in the field of the nation’s top college golf teams. But the Tigers made just 40 pars, last in the field.
Behr had five birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey on the final hole in shooting a 70. Had he made a par on the final hole he would have finished in tie for fourth after the first round, just one shot off the individual lead. Instead he is tied for 16th, an indication of how bunched the teams are.
Like Behr, Nimmer had five birdies, three bogeys and a double in scoring his even par 70 to rank in a tie for 16th. He made a double bogey on the 490 yard 17th hole, but came back with a birdie on 18. Nimmer’s even par 70 marked the first time since 2006 that a Clemson freshman shot par or better in his first NCAA National Tournament team competition. David May was the last two do it when he shot a one-under-par 71 as a freshman at Crosswater Golf Club in Sunriver, Oregon.
Clemson’s other counting scores were a 75 by Miller Capps and a 76 by Austin Langdale. Capps had two birdies and seven bogeys on the par 70 course. Langdale started off strong with three birdies within his first four holes and was even par after nine. But he shot a six over par 40 on the back, including a double bogey on the final hole to shoot 76. Carson Young shot a 79 and his score did not count towards Clemson’s team score.
Clemson will play in the morning wave on Saturday with an 11:37 tee time Eastern time. Results are available on golfstat.com.
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