Clemson wins ACC for its head coach

Clemson wins ACC for its head coach


Clemson wins ACC for its head coach


The Clemson men’s golf team won one for the Gipper, if you will.

The Tigers claimed the 2021 ACC Golf Championship in match play Monday by beating Florida State at the Capital City Crabapple Course in Atlanta, Ga.

The Tigers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win the match, 3-2, in a playoff.

Zack Gordon made a 20-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to defeat Grayson Porter, giving fourth-ranked Clemson the victory over No. 2 Florida State. It marked the 10th ACC title for head coach Larry Penley, who is retiring at the conclusion of this season.

“I really thought we were going to win this tournament in regulation when it appeared Zack was going to win the 18th hole,” Penley said. “But, he three-putted and Porter made a great up and down to tie the hole. Zack went from goat to hero with the birdie on his 21st hole.

“Even after we were down 2-0, I thought we had a shot with the matches that were still out on the course. Zack was either even, or up one, or down one all day and I just felt Kyle would win his match. And Jacob is a great player going against a great player.”

Gordon’s 21-hole victory was the climax of an incredible comeback for the Tigers, who never had the overall lead in the match until Gordon’s putt. His birdie came on the 216-yard par three third hole and it was the only birdie of the tournament on that hole by any Clemson player.

The Tigers had played the hole 25 times without a birdie in stroke play and match play until Gordon’s putt.

“Coach (Jordan) Byrd and I read the putt to be about two balls outside the hole and it broke just as we thought,” Gordon said.

Porter had a 18-foot putt from above the hole to attempt to tie the match, but the putt missed by inches and Clemson had its 11th ACC Championship in program history.

This was Penley’s 83rd overall win, more than any coach in ACC history.

“This is very special, I wasn’t sure I was going to get to 10 ACC championships,” he said. “This was a lesson in hanging in there. We were never up (as a team)  until Zack made the last putt. Our guys just fought all day.”

Clemson now awaits its NCAA Regional bid on May 5.  The assignments will be announced that day on the Golf Channel.   The Tigers are in great position to be a number-one seed at one of the six sites.

photo courtesy Clemson Athletics Communications 

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