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May 28, 2021

Clemson in tie for 10th after First Round of NCAA National Tournament

Clemson, S.C.—Turk Pettit continued his outstanding play in the NCAA Tournament with an opening-round 68 to lead Clemson to a tie for 10th after the first round of the NCAA National Tournament at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale Arizona.  The Tigers had a team score of seven-over-par 287 on the par 70 layout that measures 7,289 yards in length.

Clemson is part of a log jam in the 30-team field with the 287 score. Wake Forest, Arkansas, SMU, and Illinois are all tied with the Tigers for 10th with the same 287 score. Only three shots separate the 11 teams who are between eighth and 17th place.

Clemson has an early tee time for the second round, as Head Coach Larry Penley’s team will begin play off the 10th tee at 6:32 a.m. Pacific time, 9:32 a.m. on the east coast. Fans may follow the scoring live on Television coverage begins Monday on the Golf Channel.

“We played in difficult conditions this afternoon,” said Penley. “It was hot and the course got hard (crusty) late in the day.   We are actually looking forward to playing at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.  The conditions should be perfect at that time. The course should be much softer with temperatures in the mid-70s.   

“I am confident we will play better tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a separation day as the higher-ranked teams will get to play in the morning.”

Pettit is in a 12-way tie for fifth place in the individual race after this two-under-par round that included four birdies and two bogeys. He is just two shots out of the lead held by unranked Purdue player Cole Bradley.    

Pettit made a bogey on the second hole, then played holes 4-10 in four-under-par. His only non-par over the last eight holes was a bogey on the par-three 16th hole.     

Pettit, who has a 70.14 stroke average coming into the tournament, tied for third-best in Clemson history, was Clemson’s top golfer at the NCAA Regional with a fourth-place finish after scoring 208 for the 54 holes at the Golf Club of Tennessee. Friday was his seventh consecutive round at 71 or better, all in the postseason (ACC or NCAA Tournaments) play.

Jacob Bridgeman was Clemson’s second-best golfer in the first round with a one-over-par 71.  The junior from Inman, SC played the front nine in even-par after recording one bogey and one birdie.  He played the back-nine even-par through the 17th hole until he made a bogey on 18.  The 18th hole was the most difficult hole in the first round, as the par-four played to a 4.52 stroke average for the field of 156 golfers.

“Turk Pettit and Jacob Bridgeman played great today. Jacob didn’t get much out of his round from a scoring standpoint, but he played well.”

Kyle Cottam and Colby Patton, who were separated by just three total strokes over 24 rounds during the regular season (1712 for Cottam to 1715 for Patton), both had rounds of four-over-par 74.  Cottam had five bogeys and one birdie, while Patton had four birdies, tied for best on the team, but had six bogeys and a double bogey.  Both made bogey on the difficult 18th hole.

“The 18th hole is a very difficult hole, and when you don’t drive it in the fairway it becomes even more difficult. Hopefully, we will correct some club selections and sight lines on some drives tomorrow.”

William Nottingham, who is playing in his first tournament for Clemson since March,  got off to a rough start with bogeys on three of the first four holes, then settled down and played the next seven holes at one-under. But a double-bogey on that difficult 18th hole led to a non-counting score of 76.