CLEMSON, S.C. — “Super Senior” Kyle Cottam fired a career best 64 and junior Carter Pendley added a career best 66 to lead Clemson to a record setting team score of 266 and a second-place standing Friday in the opening round of the Jordan Byrd era of Clemson golf at the Maui Jim Invitational at Mirabel Golf Course in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Friday’s round was the first for the program without Larry Penley at the helm of the program since 1983. He retired at the end of last season and Byrd, his associate the previous 16 years, moved into the position.
The Clemson team score of 266 was the lowest season-opening round in Clemson history by six shots. The previous record was a 272 shot on September 3, 2002 by Clemson’s eventual National Championship team at the Topy Cup in Japan. The Tigers were -14 as a team today, the second best season opening score in relation to par behind the -16 shot at the 2002 Topy Cup.
Clemson, ranked 11th and 12th in the two preseason golf polls, stands in second place behind ACC rival Georgia Tech after day one of the three-round tournament. The Jackets shot an impressive 264 score, 16-under-par. Ninth-ranked Auburn is in third-place at nine-under-par 271 and Louisville is fourth at 273. San Diego State and Washington are tied for fifth at 274.
Cottam’s 64 was two shots better than his previous career best of 66 that he shot twice previously. His round included six birdies on the front nine and a score of 29. That tied the Clemson record for a nine-hole score. William Nottingham, Cottam’s former teammate, had a 29 on the front nine of his second round of the day at the Wolfpack Spring Open on April 14, 2017. Cottam had eight birdies on the day including three in a row on holes 1-3.
Cottam stands in a tie for third place in the medalist race. Ross Steelman, Georgia Tech’s No. 5 player, had an eight-under-par 62 to take a one-shot lead over David Puig of Arizona State. Puig, a returning All-American, is playing the tournament as an individual. Christian Banke of Arizona and Bartley Forrester of Georgia Tech also shot 64’s to tie Cottam for third.
Pendley, who played in just one tournament last year and just five in his entire career prior to today, had a four-under-par 66 that included a 32 on the front nine and a 34 on the back. He played the back nine first and was just one-under par, then made birdies on each of the first four holes on the front side, the best streak of birdies by a Tiger all day. He made birdie on the final hole to finish with his 66 that was two shots better than his previous career high. He stands in seventh place in the individual race.
Veterans Jacob Bridgeman and Colby Patton both had rounds of two-under-par 68 to stand in a tie for 17th place. Patton had seven birdies on the day and would have challenged his career best round had he not made a double bogey on the seventh hole, a 526 yard par-four that was the most difficult hole on the course. Bridgeman had six birdies, contributing to Clemson’s 30 for the day, most in the 15-team field.
Zack Gordon was the only Clemson golfer to record an eagle, as the senior made a three on the par five second hole. It was one of just four eagles recorded by the 90 players in the field. But a triple bogey seven on the fourth hole, the second hardest hole on the course, hurt his score and he finished with an even par 70 and was Clemson’s non-counter.
Freshman Kian Rose began his Clemson career with a solid even-par 70. Playing as an individual, he posted four birdies, including three within the first five holes on the course.
The field will be back on the 7115-yard course on Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. Live scoring is available on golfstat.com.