Clemson, S.C.—Zack Gordon shot a season-best tying 68, and Turk Pettit added a second consecutive even-par 71 on Tuesday to lead Clemson to a 571 team score and a tie for the lead after two rounds of the Collegiate Invitational @ the Country Club of Birmingham.
The fourth-ranked Tigers are tied with 19th ranked Tennessee entering the final round with scores of 571 after identical 18-hole scores of 286 and 285. The 14-team field includes seven of the top 25 teams and 20 of the top 100 players in the nation according to Golfstat. There are nine SEC teams in the field for the event where Auburn is serving as host.
North Florida, the top team after the first round, had a 293 team score on Tuesday and dropped to third at 576. Arkansas, ranked 21st by Golfstat, is in fourth place at 577, and Mississippi is fifth at 579. UAB and Virginia are tied for sixth at 582, while ninth-ranked Auburn and 10th ranked Vanderbilt are tied for eighth at 584.
Gordon, Clemson’s number-five player in the lineup this week, started quickly with three birdies in the first four holes. He had just one bogey in recording his fourth round in the 60s this year. “Zack kept us in the hunt for the team title today,” said head coach Larry Penley. He started very fast. In fact he really could have made birdie on the third hole also, but he missed a six-footer.
“He made a 25-footer for birdie after hitting his second shot into a greenside bunker on the fourth hole.” The 16th hole is the toughest on the course through two days. There were just six birdies there today and Gordon had one of them.
Gordon stands in a tie for second place after 36 holes with a score of 140. He is seven shots back of leader Bryce Lewis of Tennessee, who is nine-under-par at 133. He had a tournament-best 65 on Tuesday. Like Gordon, Lewis was not ranked among the top 100 entering the tournament.
Pettit shot his second consecutive even-par 71 and is in a tie for sixth place at 142. He had four birdies on the back nine. A double-bogey on the 17th hole hurt his score, but he is still the only Tiger to shoot at least even par in each of the first two rounds.
Jacob Bridgeman and Kyle Cottam both had rounds of one-over-par 73 on Tuesday. Bridgeman had three birdies and five bogeys. His score of 141 after two rounds is in a tie for fourth place. His 10 birdies for the first two rounds rank third in the field. Cottam had one birdie and three bogies in the second round.
Colby Patton shot his second consecutive 76 and is in 61st place at 152.
“This course is getting more and more difficult as the week goes on,” said Penley, who is seeking his 82nd career win at Clemson. “The greens will be rolling about 13 tomorrow and the wind is expected to kick up. Our guys are going to have to be patient and go into the day knowing it will be a tough course to play.”