Clemson, S.C. – Jacob Bridgeman birdied five of the last six holes to finish with a four-under-par 67 and lead Clemson to the championship of the Collegiate Invitational @ the Country Club of Birmingham on Wednesday. The fourth-ranked Tigers finished with a team total of 854, six shots ahead of 19th ranked Tennessee.
It was the third team victory in the last four tournaments for the Tigers and the 82nd win over Head Coach Larry Penley’s 38-year career. In his final season as Clemson head coach, Penley is now the career leader in tournament victories in ACC history.
Clemson and Tennessee were tied Tuesday night after the second round at three-over-par, but the Tigers shot one-under 283 as a team on Wednesday, six shots better than the Volunteers. The 14-team field included seven of the top 25 teams in the nation and 20 of the top 100 players. There were nine SEC teams in the tournament and Clemson defeated those teams by a combined 203 shots.
Bridgeman came out of nowhere to finish second by just one shot to Bryce Lewis of Tennessee, who had a seven-shot lead entering the final round. But Lewis shot three-over-par 74 in Wednesday’s final round and Bridgeman a 67 to make the medalist competition come down to the final hole. Lewis made par on the 18th hole to win by a shot at six-under-par 207.
Bridgeman’s day got off to a rough start with a double bogey on the first hole and he finished the front nine at one-over-par 36. He was still one-over-par for the day when he started his run on the 13th hole with a birdie. It was Bridgeman’s fifth top 10 in six tournaments this year, his third top-two finish. He finished this event with 16 birdies, best in the field. Wednesday was his 14th under-par round and his 11th round in the 60s.
“Jacob can really get on a run with that putter,” said Penley of his junior who now has a stroke average of 69.33. “He gets in these streaks where he believes he can make everything. He made birdies on five of his last six holes. He hit it to eight feet on the one hole he made par down the stretch.”
Zack Gordon was Clemson’s second-best golfer of the tournament with a score of 212 over the 54 holes, good enough for third place. The junior played the number-five position in the Clemson lineup, as William Nottingham participating in MacKenzie Tour qualifying. He had rounds of 72-68 -71 for the top finish of his career.
“Zack was terrific the entire tournament. He really held it together the entire day and finished strong with a birdie on the final hole. Colby Patton also was big today with a 70.”
Turk Pettit had a final round 75 and finished at 217 for the 54 holes, good enough for 20th place. Clemson’s top-ranked player according to Golfstat entering the tournament, he was Clemson’s non-counter on Wednesday, an example of the depth of this Clemson team.
Patton, who had been Clemson’s non-counter the first two rounds, shot a solid 70 on Wednesday, second-best among Clemson golfers. The native of Fountain Inn, S.C. made a bogey on the first hole, then played the next 14 holes at four-under-par before finishing at one-under for the day. His 54-hole score of 222 was good enough for 38th.
Kyle Cottam, who had a counting score in all three rounds, finished with a 75 on Wednesday and a 223 total for the tournament, good enough for 43rd place.
Collegiate Invitational @ Country Club of Birmingham
April 5-7, 2021
Birmingham Country Club