CLEMSON, S.C. — Kyle Cottam had an even-par 72 in windy conditions to lead Clemson to a second-place standing after Monday’s first round of the Nexus Collegiate at the Albany Golf Club in Nassau The Bahamas. The nine teams and 57 players in the tournament will continue play on Tuesday and Wednesday at the same course that plays host to Tiger Woods’s Hero Challenge professional tournament each December.
Players from the nine schools found conditions difficult as the stroke average was 78.91 on the par 72 course that measures 7,414 yards. Only three players broke par. The individual leader is Adam Wallin of Ohio State, who carded a four-under-par 68 that included a six-under-par 30 on the back nine. He owns a three-shot lead.
The Buckeyes have the team lead with a 293 score, five-over-par. Clemson is second at 302, 14-over-par, while host school Auburn is third at 304. It was the first team round over 300 for Clemson this year, an example of the weather conditions.
Cottam stands in a tie for fourth place after the opening 18 holes. Ranked #37 in the nation according to the PGA University rankings, the Super Senior from Knoxville, Tenn. had six birdies on the day to tie for the individual lead in that category. That included four birdies on the back nine on the way to a 34, best nine-hole score among the Clemson players. He shot a 38 on the front, including two birdies in the last three holes.
Senior Zack Gordon was just one shot above Cottam with a one-over-par 73 and is tied for sixth place after the first round. Gordon started slowly as he had a double bogey on the 10th hole, his first hole of the day, then made a bogey on #11 to start three over for two holes. But the senior from Gaffney played his last 16 holes in two-under-par to finish at 73. Gordon had four birdies, a double bogey and three bogeys for the round. His 35 on the front side, his second nine of the day, was the best front nine by a Clemson player on Monday.
Jacob Bridgeman is also in the top 20 after an opening 77. The senior who is ranked 13th in the latest PGA University poll, had two bad holes that ruined his round. He had a triple bogey eight on the par five sixth hole, and a double on the par four 10th, his first hole of the day. The 10th hole proved to be very difficult for the entire Clemson team as the five players in the lineup were a combined seven over par.
But, Bridgeman, who ranks second in Clemson history in career stroke average, played the other 16 holes in even par with two birdies and two bogeys. He is in a tie for 16th place after the first round.
Carter Pendley and Kian Rose both had rounds of eight-over-par 80. Rose shot 40 on each side, while Pendley had nine-hole scores of 39-41. Both players had three double bogeys in the blustery conditions.
Freshman Sean Curran played as an individual and shot an 82.