Clemson, SC—Freshman Melena Barrientos shot a bogey-free 66 and senior Ivy Shepherd had a three-under-par 69 to lead Clemson to a third-place team standing after two rounds of the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational at the Finley Golf Course on the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill on Saturday. The 19 teams competing for the title will conclude play with 18 holes on Sunday.
Wake Forest has the team lead at 16-under-par 560 after 36 holes. Virginia Tech stands second at 564, just one shot ahead of Clemson. Michigan, the highest ranked team in the field entering the tournament (8th), is fourth at 570. The field includes six ACC teams, four from the SEC and four from the Big 10.
Clemson’s team score of eight-under-par tied for the fourth best score vs. par in Clemson history and was the best for the program since the Tigers shot eight-under par 272 (par 70) on March 10, 2019 at the Gator Invitational. It was just the seventh team score of 280 or better in school history. The key for Clemson on Saturday was the team’s play on the par five holes. Clemson’s four counting players played the par five holes in nine-under-par.
Barrientos had six birdies and no bogeys in firing the 66 on Saturday that was not only her best score of the year, but the best score of the young season by any Clemson player. It was just one shot off the school record of 65 recorded on multiple occasions by many Tiger players. The native of Plano, Texas has now started her Clemson career with five consecutive under-par rounds, a school record for consecutive under-par rounds at the start of a career.
Barrientos shot 32 on the front nine and 34 on the back in recording her 66 on the par 72 course that is 6,393 yards in length. “Melena had a great day,” said Head Coach Kelley Hester. “She was really accurate with her irons. She was shooting darts out there today. She could have had another birdie on 17, but she lipped out while playing her final holes in a rainstorm.”
Barrientos stands in a tie for second place entering the final round with a 136 total for 36 holes, eight-under par. She is tied with Duke All-American Erica Shepherd, and is three shots behind leader Rachel Kuehn of Wake Forest, who is 11-under-par after a 63 on Saturday.
Shephard had two birdies, one bogey and an eagle in shooting her three-under-par 69, her 11th career round in the 60s. The native of Peachtree City, Ga., scored an eagle on the par five 13th hole that measures 481 yards. Shepherd hit her second shot on the hole from 217 yards to 15 feet, then made the putt for her sixth career eagle. “Ivy played well, but was not making any putts until she made that eagle. She then made another birdie coming in to finish three-under.”
Shepherd, who has a pair of top 15 finishes in this tournament on her resume, stands in 11th place at 141 entering Sunday’s final round.
Callista Rice had her second consecutive even-par round of 72 on Monday and stands in a tie for 27th place individually. The super senior from Mars Hill, SC shot a two-over-par 38 on the front nine, but had a bogey-free 34 on the back nine. She had four birdies on the day.
Savannah Grewal also stands at even par 144 after two rounds after rounds of 71-73. The native of Canada had four bogeys and three birdies on Saturday, including a birdie on the 18th hole, the only Clemson player to make a birdie on that finishing hole so far this weekend.
Lindsay May showed great improvement on Saturday in shooting a three-over par 75. The native of New York played the final seven holes at one-under-par.
Live scoring is available on Sunday at Golfstat.com