Doc Redman had a 66 and Bryson Nimmer added a 67 to lead Clemson to a 10-under-par 277 team score on Sunday and a second-place finish out of 12 teams at the 2018 ACC Men’s Golf Championship at The Old North State Club in New London, NC.
Clemson finished second by two shots to Georgia Tech and Redman finished second by two shots in the individual race to Thomas Walsh of Virginia. It took an ACC record 16-under-par score of 200 by Walsh to beat the Clemson All-American, who won the 2017 United States Amateur.
Clemson entered the final round six shots behind the Yellow Jackets, who entered the tournament ranked fifth in the nation. But, Clemson got off to a quick start and played the front nine at 11-under-par. Redman shot six-under-par 30 on the front nine, just one shot short of the Clemson nine-hole record.
The Tigers actually had a four-shot lead after Redman made a birdie on the par four sixth hole. The sophomore from Raleigh hit his approach to one foot and made the putt to go to six-under-par through six holes. That putt made the Tigers 29-under-par for the tournament.
But, Clemson’s fast pace slowed down. The Tigers played the next four holes at two-over-par and the margin with Georgia Tech never got above a three-shot lead either way the rest of the round.
Clemson cut the margin to one shot, 28-under-par to 27 after Nimmer made a birdie on the final hole to finish with a five-under-par 67. Redman needed to beat his Georgia Tech competitor, Chris Petefish by a shot with a birdie on the last hole. After a drive to the right to the top of a hill, he hit his second shot to within 15 yards of the green on the par five, but Petefish hit his second shot to the green just 25 feet from the pin. Redman could not get up and down and Petefish two-putted for birdie to give Tech the two-shot victory.
Redman’s 66 on Sunday was his low round of the year for the Tigers. He finished with rounds of 67-69-66 for his 202 total. His 54-hole score broke John Engler’s Clemson record for total strokes at an ACC Tournament. Engler had a 203 when he won the 2001 ACC Tournament.
Redman also became the first Clemson golfer with three rounds in the 60s at the same ACC Tournament since 1998 when Charles Warren did it when he won the tournament at the same Old North State Club.
Nimmer’s round of 67 was his best of the tournament and his best since he had a 66 at Bandon Dunes earlier this spring. He was near flawless on Sunday with five birdies and no bogeys. It was his best final-round performance since shooting a 67 at Trinity Forest back in the fall.
While Redman finished second individually at 14-under-par 202, Nimmer finished tied for eighth with a 207 score, nine-under par. It is the sixth straight top 10 finish for a member of the Nimmer family at the ACC Tournament.
Bryson finished fourth and second the last two years, respectively, while his dad, Tony Nimmer, finished sixth each of his final three years for the Tigers (1982-83-84).
Colby Patton, whose father Chris Patton finished third at the ACC Tournament in 1990, was Clemson’s third best golfer of the final round with an even-par 72, while classmate Kyle Cottam had a 73 and Turk Pettit a 74. But, none of the three freshmen finished in the top 25 for the 54 holes.
Clemson head coach Larry Penley was disappointed his Tigers came two shots short of victory, but he was proud of their comeback on Sunday.
“We got off to such a fast start, and we had caught them about an hour into the round,” he said in the release.
The Tournament went about as Penley expected.
“I told some people on Thursday that it would be a shootout and it would take 30-under to win. That is what it would have taken (Georgia Tech finished 29 under). There are a lot of talented teams in this league and the weather conditions were perfect for scoring.
“Our veteran players really showed up today. I was proud of Doc and Bryson. There can be a tendency to let down after you play in the Masters, but Doc is a special person. He showed that in this tournament.
“It was a learning experience for our freshmen. They will be back next year and will benefit by having played this tournament. This was also a good experience for our team going forward to the NCAAs. They played in a high pressure tournament.”
For the week Clemson played the par four holes at nine-under-par, six shots better than any other team. But Clemson was next to last in scoring on the par five holes.
“Our problem was we just didn’t score well enough on the par fives,” Penley said. “In particular, the par-five 11th hole. I think we were over par there for the week. You can’t do that in this tournament on this golf course.”
The Tigers will break for final exams in a week and then play in the NCAA Regional Tournament May 14-16 at a site to be named.
Clemson and Georgia Tech have been in the same tournament five times this year and the Yellow Jackets hold a 3-2 edge, but the stroke differential is just four total shots in Tech’s favor. Both teams should be high seeds when the NCAA Regional assignments are announced in two weeks.