Clemson, S.C.—Colby Patton, Zack Gordon and Turk Pettit all won matches, and Kyle Cottam clinched the team victory with a tie in the last match on the course, as 14th ranked Clemson defeated seventh-ranked Duke 3.5-2.5 in the championship of the Jack Nicklaus Match Play Invitational at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio on Tuesday.
It marked the second straight year Clemson had at least a share of the Jack Nicklaus Invitational title, as Clemson was co-champion with Georgia Tech last year when the final day was rained out.
It was the 78th career victory for Clemson Head Coach Larry Penley, but just his second in a match play tournament. He is second in ACC history in coaching victories, trailing only former Wake Forest coach Jesse Haddock, who had 82 tournament wins between 1961-93.
“It was a great match,” said Penley. “It came down to a 30-foot made putt by Zack Gordon on the 17th hole to win his match, and a par on 17 by Kyle Cottam to clinch a tie in his match. It was a great experience to play on this great course and to get experience playing match play competition.”
Duke had a 2-1 lead through the first half of the team match. Colby Patton Clemson put the Tigers on the board with a 2&1 win over Evan Katz. Patton was one-down after nine holes, then won the 13th, 14th and 15thholes to take control before closing out the match on the 17th hole.
Duke took the next two matches behind their top two players. Chandler Eaton defeated Clemson’s highest ranked player, Jacob Bridgeman, 3&2. Eaton, who is ranked number-two in Duke history in career stroke average and is a preseason All-American, won the 13th, 15th and 16th holes to break open a close match that was tied after 12 holes.
Adrien Pendaries, ranked fourth in the nation by Golfweek entering the tournament, downed William Nottingham by the same 3&2 count. The match was tied after eight holes, but Pendaries won three of the first five holes on the back to take command.
Zack Gordon defeated Massachusetts Amateur Champion Steven DiLisio, 1-up at the fourth match. Gordon was one down after 12 and the match was tied after 16. But, Gordon won the 17th hole to take a 1-up lead. The two players tied the 18th hole, giving Gordon the win.
Turk Pettit beat Quinn Riley by a 3&1 count to give Clemson a 3-2 lead. Pettit won the first hole and never trailed in the match against the Duke freshman from Raleigh, NC.
So the match came down to Cottam and Duke’s Qi wen Wong. Wong was 1-up through 15 holes, then Cottam won the 16th and 17th holes to go 1-up. Wong won the 18th hole, but all Clemson needed to win the team match was a tie from Cottam.
Clemson needed Cottam to tie his match to win the overall match. If the match had finished 3-3, the tie breaker went to the team that won the most total holes in the six individual matches, and Duke already had clinched that statistic.
Clemson returns to the course October 18-20 at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Jack Nicklaus Match Play Invitational
Muirfield Village, Dublin, Ohio
Championship Match, October 8, 2019
Clemson 3.5, Duke 2.5
Colby Patton (Clemson) d. Evan Katz (Duke) 2&1
Chandler Eaton (Duke) d. Jacob Bridgeman (Clemson), 3&2
Adrien Pendaries (Duke) d. William Nottingham (Clemson) 3&2
Zack Gordon (Clemson) d. Steven DiLisio (Duke), 1 up
Kyle Cottam (Clemson) T. Qi Wen Wong (Duke)
Turk Pettit (Clemson) d. Quinn Riley (Duke) 3&1