Clemson, S.C.—Jacob Bridgeman fired a three-under-par 68 on Monday to lead fourth-ranked Clemson to a 291 team score and a tie for second place with Tennessee after the first round of the Collegiate Invitational @ Country Club of Birmingham. The 14-team tournament that includes seven of the top 25 teams in the nation, will run through Wednesday with the teams playing 18 holes per day.
One of the top regular-season tournaments of the season, the field includes nine SEC teams, the first time this year Clemson has played in a tournament against SEC teams. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held at Shoal Creek Golf Club in Birmingham, but a tornado did considerable damage to the course and knocked down over 1,500 trees.
North Florida, who Clemson defeated at the John Hayt Collegiate in Ponte Vedra, Fla. last week, has the first-round lead with a 283 score. Michael Mattiace, who is not ranked in the top 100 in the nation, shot a five-under 66 to lead the field. Nick Gabrelcik, ranked number one in the nation by Golfstat, helped Mattiace with an even-par 71.
The course was difficult with an average score of 73.68 for a field that included 20 of the top 100 players in the nation.
The Tigers and 19th ranked Tennessee are tied for second at three-over par 286, while Vanderbilt is fourth at 287 and Arkansas is fifth at 288. Host school Auburn is in a tie for sixth with Charlotte and Mississippi at 289. The top nine teams are separated by just seven shots.
Bridgeman who enters the tournament with a team-best 69.33 stroke average and #17 national ranking by Golfstat, had seven birdies on the day, tied for the most in the field. The junior made birdies on six of his first 13 holes to get to four-under-par, then made bogey on the 15th and 16th holes. But he finished with a birdie on the 18th hole to shoot 68, his 10th round in the 60s and 13th under-par round this year.
Turk Pettit, Clemson’s highest-ranked player by Golfstat and #7 in the nation, had an even-par 71 and is in a tie for 11th place. The senior shot 36 on the front, then had 35 on the back. He had two birdies and two bogeys for the round.
Zack Gordon was a bright spot of the Tigers with his one-over-par 72. The junior is replacing senior William Nottingham, who is competing in MacKenzie Tour qualifying this week. Gordon made par on each of his last 10 holes to be Clemson’s third-best player in the opening round. He had two birdies and three bogeys on the front nine, and stands in 21st place.
Kyle Cottam made a birdie on the 18th hole to cut Clemson’s score by a shot and allow the Tigers to tie for second after the first round. Cottam was Clemson’s top golfer last week at the John Hayt with a 208 score, leading the Tigers to the team title. Colby Patton was Clemson’s non-counter with a 76. He had a pair of double bogeys that ruined his round.
The Tigers return to the 7,226-yard layout tomorrow morning. Live scoring will be available on golfstat.com.