COLUMBUS, Ohio — Colby Patton fired a two-under-par 69 and Kyle Cottam added a one-under-par 70 to lead the Clemson golf team to a fourth-place ranking after 36 holes of the par 71 NCAA Columbus Regional Tournament at The Ohio State University Course in Columbus, Ohio.
Clemson stands in fourth place after two rounds with a 575 score, one shot ahead of fifth-place East Tennessee State. The top five teams after Wednesday’s final round will advance to the NCAA National Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 27.
Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech are tied for first after 36 holes with a seven-under-par team score of 561. The Yellow Jackets shot a strong 13-under-par 271 on Tuesday.
Host school Ohio State is third at 574, just one shot ahead of the Tigers. East Tennessee State is fifth at 576, while Arkansas and San Francisco are tied for sixth at 578. Duke is eighth at 579. Thus, Clemson is just one shot out of third place, but just four shots ahead of eighth place.
Clemson shot five –over par 289 in the first round with 15 birdies. Tuesday, Clemson shot three shots better, 286, but had just 10 birdies. The difference was Clemson did not make as many bogeys, and did not have to count a double bogey among the four counting scores. Clemson’s counting players made 56 pars on the day.
“Colby has been coming back after a slow start to tournaments all year and we saw that today,” said Head Coach Jordan Byrd. “He improved by eight shots over yesterday and just played solid all day. And, Kyle Cottam’s 33 on the front nine, his second nine of the day, was outstanding.”
“Tomorrow will be an exciting day because so many teams have a chance to make the top five and qualify for the national tournament. We have hung in there through the first 36 holes and I am proud of our guys. We have gotten to this point with Jacob Bridgeman not going low. I am going to bet he has an outstanding round tomorrow. He has been so close.”
Patton set a “family record” with his 69 on Tuesday. His father, Chris Patton, played for the Tigers in the 1987 NCAA Tournament as a freshman at this same course and his best score was a 74. Colby Patton had just one bogey and three birdies in registering his seventh round in the 60s this year, and 26th of his five-year Clemson career.
Patton was amazing the entire day in making 5-7 foot putts for par. “I really putted well on the front nine (second nine of his day). When you do that you keep the momentum going and that is why I could score under par today. If I had putted on the back nine (first nine) like I did on my second nine, I would have shot five under on my first nine holes.”
Patton’s round was highlighted by consecutive birdies on the 15th and 16th holes. He hit his approach on the 16th hole to two feet and made birdie. Patton improved from 63rd to 31st place in the individual standings with his score of 69 on Tuesday. He has a 146 total through two rounds, four-over-par and third best among Clemson golfers.
Cottam shot two-over-par on the back nine, his first nine of the day, then shot a 33 on the front side, the best nine-hole score by a Clemson golfer so far in this tournament. He hit an eight-iron to six feet on the third hole and made the birdie putt, made a five footer on the par-five sixth hole for birdie, then made a 28-footer on the par three eighth hole for his third birdie of the back nine.
“I drove the ball well today and that allowed me to leave my second shots in good places on the green,” said Cottam. The senior from Tennessee is Clemson’s top golfer through 36 holes with a 142 score, even par, good enough for 10th place.
Jacob Bridgeman, Clemson’s top golfer on the season, had his second straight one-over par 72. He had 17 pars and one bogey on Tuesday. He is Clemson’s second best golfer through two rounds with a 144 total, two-over-par and in a tie for 20th place.
Freshman Kian Rose had a 76 on Tuesday, but he did make three birdies and now leads the Clemson team in birdies through two rounds with eight. He stands in 44th place with a 147 total through 36 holes.
Zack Gordon had a 75 on Tuesday after an opening round 74 and is in 57th place at seven over par 149.
Tee times have been moved up due to inclement weather that is suppose to hit the Columbus, Ohio area Wednesday afternoon. Clemson will begin play at 7:30 a.m. off the 10th tee. Live scoring is available on golfstat.com.