Clemson, S.C.—Caley McGinty captured medalist honors in leading Kent State to a wire-to-wire team victory at the Clemson Invitational on Sunday morning. Kent State became the fifth different winner, but the fourth wire-to-wire champion in the five years of the event held at the par 72 Jack Nicklaus designed course at The Reserve at Lake Keowee in Sunset, S.C.
Clemson was led by Savannah Grewal, who finished tied for third at 211. She had a second round 67 that was her best round as a Clemson golfer by three shots. Her 211 total for 54 holes was the best of her career by six shots, and her third place finish was the first top 10 of her career.
Grewal made a hole-in-one on the 166-yard par-three fourth hole in the final round with an eight-iron. It was the first hole-in-one in the history of Clemson women’s golf and her first hole-in-one anywhere. Lauren Peter of Ohio State also had a hole-in-one on the same hole in the first round.
Clemson teammates Annabelle Pancake and Alexandra Swayne tied for 14th at 219 for Kelley Hester’s team. Pancake shot even-par for the first two rounds, then finished with a 75 in round three. Swayne showed improvement in each round, shooting 75-74-70. Her final round 70 was her best of the season.
Ivy Shepherd finished 24th at 220, giving the junior 11 consecutive top 25 finishes over the last two years. She had consistent rounds of 73-74-73. Callista Rice also showed improvement over the tournament in finishing with a 225 score. Her final round 73 was her best of the tournament.
Three Clemson golfers played the tournament as individuals. Freshman Gabriella Tomanka, playing in her first career event, shot 223 to finish in a tie for 39th. Her second round 71 was the highlight of her scorecard. Gracyn Burgess finished with a 229 score and Lindsay May shot 234.
Thanks to a final round team score of 12-under-par 276, the Golden Flashes won by 10 shots over Virginia Tech, who finished second at 862. That 276 final round by Kent State tied for the second best 18-hole score by a team in the history of the tournament. Maryland finished third at 865 and host Clemson was fourth at 867. Illinois rounded out the top five at 871 and 11th ranked Virginia finished sixth at 881.
The field included 10 of the top 50 teams in the nation according to Golfstat and the 92- players included 13 of the top 100 players in the country.
McGinty, ranked 41st in the nation according to Golfstat, led wire-to-wire in the medalist race, as her 66 in the opening round was the low score of the entire tournament and was just one shot off the 18-hole tournament record. The Reserve at Lake Keowee course was challenging, as the average score of the three rounds 75.06 and there were only nine scores in the 60s out of the 276 individual rounds played.
McGinty had two of those as she had rounds of 66-73-67 (206) to win by four shots over Virunpat Olankitkunchai of Maryland. McGinty’s 206 total tied the tournament record also held by Alice Hewson of Clemson in 2018. McGinty finished with 17 birdies, best in the field, and four more than Annabelle Pancake of Clemson.
Kent State had three players in the top 10. In addition to McGinty’s first-place finish, Kory Nielsen finished fifth with a 213 score and Chloe Salort finished ninth at 215.
Second place Virginia Tech was the only school in the 18-team tournament to have all five of its players finish in the top 25. They were led by Emily Mahar, who finished tied for fifth at 213.
Clemson will next play in the ACC Championship, April 15-18 at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro.
The Reserve at Lake Keowee, Sunset, SC
March 26-28, 2021
Top 10 Individuals
1.Caley McGinty, (Kent State) 206 (-10), 2. Virunpat Olankitkunchai,( Maryland), 210 (-6), 3. Tristyn Nowlin, (Illinois), 211 (-5), 3. Savannah Grewal, (Clemson), 211 (-5), 5. Emily Maher, (Virginia Tech), 213 (-3), 5. Kory Nielsen, (Kent State), 213 (-3), 7. Laura Van Respaille, (Maryland), 214 (-2), 7. Valery Plata, (Michigan State) 214 (-2), 9. Chloe Salort, (Kent State) , 215 (-1), 9. Keera Foocharoen, (Virginia Tech), 215 (-1).