Atlanta, Ga.—Kyle Cottam shot 67 in the morning round, and Turk Pettit and Jacob Bridgeman fired rounds of 67 in the afternoon to lead Clemson to a third-place standing with a score of 551 after two rounds of the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Golf Tournament at the Capital City Crabapple Course in Atlanta, Ga.
North Carolina has the team lead at 21-under-par 539. The Tar Heels shot an ACC record 265 in the second round on Friday. Peter Fountain’s seven-under-par 63 tied the 18-hole scoring record that is also held by former Clemson player Brad Clark, who had a 63 in the 1985 tournament. Clark still has the record for low score vs. par at -9, as his 63 was recorded on a par 72 course.
North Carolina has a nine-shot lead over NC State and 12 shots better than the third-place Tigers. Florida State, ranked second in the nation, is fourth at 557 and Wake Forest is fifth at 562.
For the first time, the ACC Golf Champion will be determined in a match-play formatted playoff. After the third round, the top four teams will advance to match play. The third round is scheduled for Saturday, but there is a 100 percent chance of rain for most of the day. The match play semifinals are scheduled for Sunday on the par 70 layout and the championship match is slated for Monday.
Thus, the most important statistic for Clemson entering the final round of stroke play is its 11-shot lead over fifth-place Wake Forest. Clemson’s goal after the third round is to finish in the top four.
“Nine under par for the first two rounds is a good score,” said Head Coach Larry Penley, who is seeking his 10th ACC Championship. “Obviously the goal is to reach the top four after the third round. We are in a good position, but there can be big swings in the team scores quickly.
“And, the conditions are getting ready to change. How will everyone adapt after playing a dry, fast course? Conditions are going to be softer whenever we play the third round.”
“We played well today, but we were a little tentative at times because of the speed of the greens. Jacob, Turk, and Kyle turned in good rounds and I was pleased with Colby Patton. He made a triple bogey on the ninth hole in the second round, but he hung in there and played the back nine at one-under-par to shoot even par for the round.”
Pettit and Cottam both stand at three-under-par 137 after 36 holes to rank in a tie for seventh place in the individual race. Pettit’s day included an eagle three on the 12th hole in the second round when he made a 30-foot putt. It was his second eagle of the year and sixth of his career.
Bridgeman ranked second in the nation, is in 11th place at 138. He shot a one-over par 71 in the first round, then birdied each of the first two holes in the second round on the way to his 67. He finished the day with 10 birdies, the fourth-best in the field of 60 golfers.
Patton had rounds of 69-70 and stands in 17th place after 36 holes at 139. Zack Gordon had rounds of 76-74 and stands in 55th place.
One area Clemson must improve is par three scoring. Clemson entered the tournament leading the nation in par three scoring at 3.02 per hole. Clemson was 10th in the field on Friday with a 3.18 average.
First Round Review
Clemson shot three-under-par 277 to rank in a tie for third with second-ranked Florida State after the first round. Kyle Cottam was Clemson’s top player in the first round with a three-under-par 67, tied for his low round of the year. The senior who plans to come back for his super senior year next season had six birdies and three bogeys. His six birdies tied for fifth-most in the field for the first round.
Colby Patton also was proficient in converting birdies as he made five birdies on the way to a one-under-par 69, his eighth round in the 60s this year, second-best on the team. Turk Pettit made a birdie on the final hole to shoot 70. It was his 11th round at par or better this year.
Jacob Bridgeman had a trying round driving the ball. He had three wayward drives and shot +5 on those holes. He was four-under on the other holes to finish with a one-over par 71.
Results after 36 Holes of ACC Men’s Golf Tournament
Capital City Crabapple Course, Atlanta, Ga
April 23, 2021