By Staff Report.
Clemson, SC—The 16th ranked Clemson Tigers will begin play in at the 59th annual ACC Men’s Golf Tournament on Friday at The Old North State Club in Uwharrie Point, NC. The tournament will be played April 20-22 at the par 72 course that is about 45 minutes north of Charlotte, NC.
Larry Penley’s team has won two events this spring and has a second place finish, all with US Public Links Champion Corbin Mills in the lineup. Mills has missed the last two Clemson tournaments while playing on the PGA Tour in the Masters and the RBC Heritage. Clemson finished 13th and sixth in those tournaments respectively.
“We are certainly glad to have Corbin Mills back in the lineup,” said Penley, who has won the ACC Tournament eight times in his career, tied for second most in league history among coaches. “The guys missed his leadership. We had some good performances the last two tournaments, but Corbin makes a big difference.”
Penley feels his team is in a good mindset entering the ACC Tournament. “We have a deep team and that is important on this golf course. We have four of our five starters under 73 in terms of stroke average and the fifth is at 73.13. There will be a lot of birdies made this weekend and we need to have everyone in the ballgame.
Mills has a 71.10 stroke average for the year, actually second on the team behind Crawford Reeves and his near identical 71.07 average. Mills has a team best 11 under-par rounds, including six rounds in the 60s. He won the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate in the fall and finished third at the Furman Invitational. His final round at Furman was a career best seven-under-par 65. His final round stroke average of 69.71 is third best in the nation.
Mills played well at the ACC Tournament at the Old North State last year with a four-under-par 212, sixth best in the field of 55 golfers, and best among Clemson players. Mills was back at practice on Monday, and on Tuesday he was eight under par for his practice round at the Walker Course that included a double eagle on the par five 16th hole.
Reeves, who missed the fall due to a back problem, has been outstanding this spring with 11 rounds at par or better and two top-four finishes in his five events. He had a streak of eight straight rounds at par or better between March 5-31 and has been Clemson’s best golfer in two of the five tournaments he has played.
Billy Kennerly is a freshman from Alpharetta, GA who is third on the team in stroke average with a 72.37 figure. He has been the most consistent player on the team in some ways with 23 scores of 75 or better in 27 rounds, including each of his last 20. He has finished in the top 25 in eight of his nine tournaments, also a team best, and has a team best 15 rounds at par or better.
McCuen Elmore is a fourth Tiger in the starting lineup with a stroke average under 73.0. He has a 72.74 figure with 11 rounds at par or better. He has played in every event this year with four top 15 finishes. He finished 21st at the ACC Tournament last year, including a second round 69 that helped Clemson to a third place team finish.
Thomas Bradshaw is fifth on the team in stroke average, but leads the team in rounds in the 60s. He has had an outstanding spring with a 71.4 stroke average for 15 rounds. He has been in the top three among Clemson golfers in four of the five spring events, including the Puerto Rico Classic when he finished sixth in the strong field, helping the Tigers to a second place team finish.
Clemson has played in every ACC Tournament and has won the event nine times, but not since 2004. This will be the 11th straight year it has been held at The Old North State Club and the 16th time overall. Clemson has won the ACC Championship at the Old North State Club in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2004.