CLEMSON, S.C — For the third day in a row Turk Pettit carried the Clemson golf team. The graduate from Auburn, Ala. shot his third consecutive round in the 60s to lead the Tigers to a five-over par team score of 285 and a 10th place standing entering the final round of stroke play at the NCAA National Tournament at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Tigers are 10th with a score of 16 over par 856. Larry Penley’s team easily made the 15-team cut for the final round, but now must finish in the top eight to advance to the Match Play tournament that will determine the National Champion. The Tigers are just three shots off the eight-team cutline.
Oklahoma State has dominated the stroke play with an 828 score, 13 shots better than second-place Oklahoma, the number-one ranked team in the nation entering the tournament. Home standing Arizona State is third at 842, while Illinois is fourth at 844. Florida State shot six-under-par on Sunday after shooting 14-over-par on Saturday and jumped to fifth place with an 849 team score.
Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and North Carolina are the cutline in a tie for sixth place at 853, while Pepperdine is ninth at 854. Clemson rounds out the top 10 at 856.
“We will have to play better on Monday, “ said Penley, who is retiring at the conclusion of this tournament. “We still have not given Turk Pettit help. He is in second place and no one else is in the top 50 (individually). Thank goodness for Turk, who is just playing outstanding golf.
“They are trying, I know that. It is not lack of effort. Hopefully they will relax and play well tomorrow.
“I was very proud of Colby and his even par round today. Kyle Cottam has made three birdies in three rounds. That is just not like him. Hopefully some putts will fall for him tomorrow.” Cottam entered the national tournament with 83 birdies, an average of over three birdies a round this year.
“I know we are capable of having a good round tomorrow and getting into match play.”
Pettit had four birdies for the third straight round and had just two bogeys in firing his 68 for a 54 hole score of 203. He is in second place just two shots behind Bo Jim of Oklahoma State, who is at -9 and 201. Parker Gilliam of Wake Forest and Quade Cummins of Oklahoma are tied for third at 205, two shots behind Pettit.
Pettit is attempting to join Charles Warren as the only individual National Champion in Clemson history. Warren won in 1997 with a five-under-par score at Conway Farms, a course outside of Chicago. When Warren won, he never led until his last putt in a playoff against Brad Elder of Texas.
Pettit has had rounds of 68-67-68 for his 203 total. He is the first Clemson golfer to shoot in the 60s for the first three rounds of an NCAA National Tournament since Warren did it in 1998 in Albuquerque, NM. Warren finished second that year. Pettit is just the second Clemson player to do it. No Clemson player has ever had four rounds in the 60s in the same tournament.
Patton had three birdies and three bogeys in his even-par round on Sunday that was his best round in 11 NCAA National Tournament rounds. Cottam had a two over par 72, while Jacob Bridgeman and William Nottingham both shot 75.
Coverage of Monday’s fourth round will begin on the Golf Channel at 3 p.m. eastern time. Live Scoring will be available on golfstat.com.