NEW LONDON, NC – Billy Kennerly fired his second consecutive three-under par 69 to lead Clemson to a two under par team round (286) and a fifth place finish at the ACC Men’s Golf Championships at The Old North State Club in New London, NC. Duke won the tournament with an 839 score, while Virginia Tech and Florida State were tied for second at 842.
Georgia Tech, the defending champion and ranked seventh in the nation, finished fourth at 851, while Clemson was fifth at 859. Clemson was ninth after the first round with a 296 score, then played the last two rounds at 13 under par to improve four spots in the team standings. Only Duke (-19) and Virginia Tech (-16) played better than Clemson over the last 36 holes.
Clemson’s two-under par team round on Sunday in difficult conditions ranked third best in the field. Only Duke (-4) and Virginia Tech (-4) were better on Sunday. The Tigers were better than seventh ranked Georgia Tech and 14th ranked Florida State by a combined 14 shots on Sunday.
Kennerly had his best tournament of the season with his 213 total for 54 holes after rounds of 75-69-69. Sunday’s action was played during off and on rain and light wind, but Kennerly had four birdies and just one bogey. His three-under-par score was second best among the 55 ACC golfers on Sunday. Only a 68 by Anders Albertson of Georgia Tech, the individual champion, was better. Kennerly and Albertson were also the only players in the field to shoot in the 60s in each of the last two rounds.
“My putting was improved and my course management was a lot better over the last two rounds,” said Kennerly, who finished tied for 10th, his best finish of the year in any event. “I really didn’t change my gameplan from Friday. Friday was just one of those days.”
Unfortunately Friday was one of those days for all the Tigers and the team’s eight over par score kept the Tigers from being in contention on the final day. “I was proud of the way our guys competed over the last two days,” said Head Coach Larry Penley. “We were much more relaxed the last two days. I was really proud of the way they hung in there today during difficult conditions. Two under par today was very good.
“We finished pretty strong when the weather was getting worse. Miller Capps birdied the last two holes, Crawford birdied 18. Those three shots were the difference in beating Virginia.”
Penley was especially pleased with Kennerly’s performance. “This is a very good time of the year to play your best golf. He has been working hard on his putting. He has hit it well tee to green all spring, but his putting has held him back. This weekend he putted it well. He saw some putts fall and that confidence makes all the difference in the world.”
Kennerly, a sophomore from Alpharetta, GA, had just one bogey, on the par five fourth hole. He started strong with a birdie on the par five first hole after he hit his third shot to within five feet of the pin. He made birdie on 11 and 12. He hit his approach from 86 yards to a foot on the par five 11th, then made a 30 foot putt on the 12th hole. He birdied the par four 16th hole when he hit his approach to five feet.
Crawford Reeves was a second Clemson golfer under par on Sunday. The senior from Greenville scored a 71, a round that included a birdie on the final hole. His short game was outstanding all day as he had two great up-and-downs from off the green on the eighth and ninth holes. The only disappointment of the day was a double bogey on 17, but he finished strong with the birdie on 18. Reeves finished in a tie for 36th as he played the last 36 holes in one under par.
Miller Capps had an even par 72 on Sunday and finished at even par for the tournament with a 216 score. Capps is the first Clemson freshman to score even par for the 54 holes at the ACC Tournament since 2007 when Kyle Stanley shot a 210, six under. Capps finished the strongest of the Clemson contingent with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes, the only Tiger to do that all weekend. His birdie on 17 was the result of a chip-in from off the green.
Clemson played three freshmen in the tournament for just the second time in history.
Cody Proveaux was Clemson’s third best performer for the tournament with a 219 score, good enough for 29th place. He had a 77 on Sunday, but his 67 in the second round was the best by a Tiger all weekend and the third best score in Clemson history by a freshman at the ACC Tournament.
Stephen Behr shot a 74 on Sunday and finished at 221 for the tournament, good enough for 38th place. He was Clemson’s best golfer in the first round with a 71.
Sunday’s play completed Clemson’s regular season. The Tigers now away an NCAA regional bid. The NCAA Regional will be held May 16-18.
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