Clemson, S.C.—Ivy Shepherd and Melena Barrientos tied for third in the medalist race to lead Clemson to a second-place team finish out of 19 teams at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational. The 54-hole three-day tournament completed on Sunday afternoon at the Finley Golf Course featured 14 Power Five Conference schools, including six from the ACC. Four teams were ranked in the top 25 of the latest Golfweek poll and Clemson defeated three of the four.
Thirteenth ranked -Wake Forest won the tournament with an 847 score, 10 shots ahead of the Tigers. Virginia Tech was in third place at 859, two shots behind Clemson’s 857. Alabama was fourth at 862. Kentucky and 11th ranked Duke were tied for fifth at 863. Michigan, ranked a tournament best sixth in the nation entering the event, finished seventh with an 866 score. Clemson finished second to the Demon Deacons among the six ACC teams in the field. Host North Carolina was tied for ninth at 870, and NC State was 14th at 875.
The second-place finish was the best for the Clemson team since Kelley Hester’s team won the Houston Dixon in Feb. of 2018. It marked the first time Clemson had two players finish in the top three of a tournament since the 2013 Lady Paladin Invitational, the second tournament in Clemson history, when Ashlan Ramsey finished first and Sloan Shanahan was third. It marked just the third time in Clemson women’s golf history two Clemson players finished in the top three of the medalist race.
Shepherd, a senior, had rounds of 72-69-69 for his 210 total, while Barrientos had rounds of 70-66-74 for her 210 total. It was the sixth career top 10 finish for Shepherd, while Barrientos has now finished in the top six in each of her first two tournaments. The freshman from Plano, Texas is the fourth player in Clemson history to finish in the top 10 of each of her first two tournaments, as she joins Ramsey, Shanahan and current professional Alice Hewson with that accomplishment.
Hester was proud of her team’s performance this weekend. “With six holes to play we were within a shot of Wake Forest. Unfortunately, we made a few mistakes and they capitalized on their opportunities. But, overall I am proud of our performance this weekend. We were in position to compete for the championship against a national field. We will be a better team for this experience. I was especially proud of Melena and Ivy, who showed they can compete against an outstanding field.
Savannah Grewal was Clemson’s third best player for the weekend with a two-over-par 218 score, good enough for a 35th place. She had rounds of 71-73-74. A highlight of the weekend for Grewal was her performance on par three holes and she scored at an average of 2.67, third best in the field of 95 players.
Callista Rice finished 47th for the weekend with a 221 total for the 54 holes. Rice had 10 birdies, second best on the team. Her first two rounds of 72 were keys to Clemson’s high finish. Lindsay May, playing in her first tournament of the year, had an opening round of 84, but finished strong the last two rounds with a pair of 75s on the par 72 course.
Clemson returns to the course for its final tournament of the fall in less than two weeks as the Tigers will compete in the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, NC, October 29-31.
Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational
Oct. 15-17, 2021
At Finley Golf Course, Chapel Hill, NC