Bryson Nimmer fired a four-under-par 68 to hold a two-shot lead individually, and Clemson made the cut as a team for the final 15 of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship on Sunday at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. Clemson stands in 12th place out of the 30 teams through three rounds.
The championship will cut to eight teams after Monday’s fourth round and those teams will enter the match play portion of the tournament that will determine the NCAA Champion. The individual champion will be crowned after play concludes on Monday evening.
Duke shot an incredible 12 under par on Sunday, nine shots better than any other team, and holds the team lead at 10-under-par. Host School Oklahoma State is second at 857, three shots back.
The tournament will be televised on The Golf Channel beginning Monday afternoon at 5 p.m. Eastern time. Live results are available on golfstat.com.
Nimmer has a 54-hole score of 207, nine-under-par, and has a two-shot lead over Brandon Mancheno of Auburn. Teammate Doc Redman stands in a tie for seventh place with a four-under-par total of 212.
This is the first time Clemson has reached the final 15 with a chance to go into the eight-team match play since the format was adopted in 2009. “I am very proud of our guys today,” said Penley, who is in his 35th year at Clemson and has taken 28 teams to the NCAA National Tournament.
“It took a great effort, one where everyone had to hang in there. I know getting over the hump to reach the final 15 is big and all our guys are excited about tomorrow. While we are in 12th place and have to finish eighth tomorrow to continue, we are only six shots behind the No. 8 team. That isn’t very much in college golf.”
Penley is proud of all his players, but especially Nimmer, who shot a 68 on Sunday and is in first place individually entering the final round of stroke play. “This course sets up well for Bryson because you have to drive your golf ball accurately and that is something Bryson does. He hits fairways and greens and when he putts like he has this week, he has a chance (to win).
Nimmer made three birdies on the front and three birdies on the back on the way to his 68. His three birdie putts on the back were a combined eight feet. For the tournament he has played the par four holes at five-under-par, three shots better than anyone else in the 156-player field. Nimmer now has 15 birdies, nine bogeys and 33 pars for his 54 holes.
Doc Redman saw his streak of consecutive under-par rounds end at nine, but he shot a one-over 73, including a clutch birdie on the par five 18th hole. That put Clemson at 14-over-par as a team for the tournament. When Clemson finished its play Sunday afternoon the Tigers were in 18th place. But, the field came back to the Tigers in the late afternoon, allowing Clemson to finish 12th.
Redman is just five shots off the lead in a tie for seventh place ranking and also will be in the hunt for the individual championship. Clemson’s only NCAA individual champion in history is by Charles Warren who won the championship at Conway Farms near Chicago in 1997. That year Richard Coughlan finished sixth, and that is the last time Clemson had two of the top six players at the NCAA Championship.
Colby Patton had a four-over par 76 on Sunday that was important in Clemson’s finish. The freshman from Fountain Inn , SC hit 13 fairways and 15 greens. “I was very proud of Colby, “ said Penley. “This is not an easy course for a freshman playing in his first NCAA Tournament. He had a few putting problems we can correct for Monday.”
Kyle Cottam, who was just one over for his first 36 holes, had a 10-over-par 82 on Sunday. He had a stretch where he was eight-over-par for a four-hole stretch, but he shot just two-over-par on the back nine.
Turk Pettit was Clemson’s fifth player in the original lineup Sunday, but he withdrew after eight holes. William Nottingham will replace Pettit on Monday and if Clemson reaches match play on Tuesday.
NCAA National Championship
Karsten Creek, Stillwater, Okla.
Par 72, 7,460 yards
1. Duke 854, 2. Oklahoma State 857, 3. Texas Tech 861, 4. Vanderbilt 866, 5. Oklahoma 868, 6. Auburn 870, 7. Texas A&M 871, 8. Kent State 872, 9. Alabama 874, 10. Texas 875, 11. Arkansas 876, 12. Clemson 878, 13. Arizona State 880, 14. Illinois 881, 15. North Carolina 882, 16. Stanford and Northwestern 884, 18. Florida 886, 19. Iowa State and UNLV 891, 21. Kentucky and UCLA 892, 23. Kansas 894, 24. NC State, UCF and BYU 897, 27. Oregon 899, 28. North Florida 902, 29. Augusta 904, 30. Baylor 910.
Bryson Nimmer 64-75-68/207; 7. Doc Redman 69-70-73/212; 96. Kyle Cottam 71-74-82/ 227; 134. Colby Patton 81-75-76/ 232, Turk Pettit, WD