CLEMSON, S.C. — All five Clemson golfers shot in the 60s in the same round for the first time in seven seasons on Sunday, and the Tigers 54-hole team score of 43-under-par set a school record, but Clemson came up one shot short in Head Coach Jordan Byrd’s first tournament at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate at Mirabel Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Tigers finished second out of 15 teams, six of whom were ranked in the top 25 in the preseason polls. Georgia Tech broke its previous school record by 12 shots with a 796 team score, while Clemson’s 797 set the Clemson record by 14 shots.
“It was a great weekend shooting 43-under-par,” said Byrd. “I was really proud of the guys. We were nine shots down on the back nine today, but kept fighting. We had some chances coming in, but you just have to tip you hat to Georgia Tech. They played great too.”
“Everyone in the lineup shot par-or-better each day and Kian Rose played very well as an individual, including his 67 today. For Carter Pendley to shoot eight-under after playing just one tournament last year that was very impressive. Coach (Joey) Maxon walked with him two of the days and I think really helped him.”
The entire tournament was a battle between the Tigers and the Yellow Jackets as Georgia Tech was first and Clemson second after each of the three rounds played on the 7,115-yard course. Georgia Tech beat Clemson by two shots in each of the first two rounds, then Clemson won the head-to-head battle by three shots on Sunday. Auburn finished third with an 809 score, 31-under-par, while San Diego State was fourth at 810. Louisville was a third ACC team in the top five as the Cardinals finished fifth at 814. Washington was sixth at 815.
The Tigers were nine shots down with seven holes left, then made an incredible run to see the tournament come down to the last hole. Clemson and Georgia Tech shot the same team score over the last two holes.
Clemson set numerous school records in Byrd’s first tournament. He replaced Larry Penley, who retired last spring after 38 years in charge of the program.
As stated previously, Clemson’s 797 team score broke the previous Clemson record by 14 shots. The 43-under-par score vs. par, broke the previous record by one shot. Clemson shot 42-under-par at the 2003 Augusta Invitational. Incredibly, the Tigers finished second at that tournament as well, losing by two shots to host school Augusta State. Clemson went on to win the National Championship that year.
This was also the first tournament all five Clemson players shot par-or-better in all three rounds. Clemson’s team scores by round were 266-264-267, and it marked the first time in school history Clemson shot under 270 in all three rounds. The Tigers also had 80 birdies and two eagles as a team, the most under-par holes in a 54-hole tournament in school history.
Individually, Kyle Cottam finished with a 196 score and Jacob Bridgeman shot 199, the first time two Clemson players have broken 200 in the same tournament. Bridgeman’s 62 in the second round tied the school record for 18-hole score.
Cottam’s 196 total was second best in Clemson history behind the 195 shot by Bryson Nimmer at the same Arizona tournament in the fall of 2018. Cottam’s -14 was tied for the seventh best score vs. par in Clemson history. The “super senior” from Knoxville, Tenn. had rounds of 64-65-67 in finishing fifth in the 90-player field. His opening round 64 was his career best.
Bridgeman gave Clemson two players in the top 10 as the senior from Inman, S.C. had rounds of 68-62-69 for an 11-under-par score of 199 to finish ninth. That was one shot off his career best for a 54-hole tournament. He finished with a team best 19 birdies, which was second best in the tournament overall behind medalist J.M. Butler of Auburn, who had 20.
Carter Pendley, who played just one tournament last year in the COVID reduced season, was the third best Tiger in the tournament with a 54-hole score of 202, good enough for a 17th place finish. Pendley had scores of 66-70-66, by far the best tournament of his career. He finished with 17 birdies.
Colby Patton finished 19th individually with a 204 score after rounds of 68-70-66. His 66 tied for team honors on Sunday as he made six birdies and shot a 32 on the back nine. The 66 tied his career high as well.
Zack Gordon was fifth among Clemson golfers in the individual race, but still finished in the top 25 (24th) with a 205 score. His 67 on Sunday included five birdies.
Freshman Kian Rose played as an individual at this event and shot a 67 in the final round to finish with a 208 score, two-under-par. He had two eagles in the event, the only Tiger to record a pair of eagles and tied for the most in the field. He finished tied for 43rd.
Clemson Results at Maui Jim Intercollegiate
September 10-12, 2021
Mirabel Golf Club, Scottsdale, Arizona