Georgia Tech Golf Finishes 2nd at Clemson Invitational

Vincent Whaley posted the 10th top-20 finish of his career (tie for 11th).
April 9, 2017

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Salem, S.C. - Junior James Clark shot a 1-over-par 73 Sunday to complete a career-best tie-for-third finish, and the 21st-ranked Yellow Jackets posted a 6-over-par 294 and finished in second place at the second annual Clemson Invitational.

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TECH LINEUP – On a breezy day with fast greens punctuating the 7,103-yard, par-72 layout at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, the Yellow Jackets failed to mount a charge after beginning the day five shots behind the host Tigers, who shot 4-under-par 284, one of only two teams to break par Sunday.

Only senior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) was able to break par for Tech, birdieing two of his last three holes to post a 70 (-2). He tied for 11th place, earning the 10th top-20 finish of his career.

Meanwhile, Clark struggled through a 1-over-par 73, but claimed a tie for third individually after he birdied the final two holes Sunday for a 73. With a 2-under-par total of 213, it was his second top-10 finish at the Clemson Invitational, last year’s tie for seventh being his previous best career finish.

Freshmen Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) and Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) provided the Yellow Jackets’ other counting scores with a 75 and 76, respectively. Freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) did not count after a 79.

Senior Michael Hines (Acworth, Ga.), competing as an individual, shot 76 Sunday and tied for 22nd, his best finish since the 2014-15 season.

TEAM LEADERBOARD – Eighteenth-ranked Clemson shot 4-under-par 284 Sunday to extend its winning margin from five shots to 15 over the Yellow Jackets. The Tigers finished with a 6-under-par total of 858, while Tech completed 54 holes at 873 (+9).

No. 38 Alabama, the third team in the final groupings Sunday, challenged the Jackets for second place but continually fell back, posting an 8-over-par round of 296 and finishing third at 878 (+14). SMU (885, +21) and the College of Charleston (886, +22) rounded out the top five finishers in the 13-team field.

INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Patrick Cover of UNC-Wilmington, who began the day in 16th place after posting rounds of 76-70, got hot with six birdies and an eagle to produce the weekend’s best round of 65 (-7), lifting him to a two-stroke victory over Clemson’s Carson Young. Cover finished 54 holes at 5-under-par 211, while Young shot 71 Sunday to finish alone in second at 3-under 213.

Clark and William Rainey of the College of Charleston, tied for the 36-hole lead, finished tied for third with Clemson’s Austin Langdale. The Tigers’ Doc Redman and Michigan State’s Kaleb Johnson tied for sixth at 1-under-par 215, the only other players to finish under par.

COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “James had his career-best finish and Vince made some putts today, and those were the positives. That’s encouraging. James had a bad break at 16, but birdied the last two holes, so he’s playing all the way through the round, which is what older players are supposed to do. The freshmen need to start playing like sophomores and the older guys. We had big numbers today and not much execution. We finished second in the tournament, but when you shoot the 11th best score of the day, you haven’t done much. We didn’t compete well today.”

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Clemson Invitational is a 54-hole event played at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, a 7,103-yard, par 72 layout in Salem, S.C.

The Yellow Jackets finished second to the host team, Clemson, by 11 shots in the inaugural tournament last spring. Vincent Whaley captured the second tournament title of his career with an 8-under-par score of 208.

At No. 18 Clemson was the highest ranked team in the field, having won five events this season. Also in the field are Alabama (No. 38), Boston College, College of Charleston, Elon, Furman, Louisville, Michigan State (No. 34), Navy, SMU, UNC-Wilmington, and Winthrop. Alabama won the NCAA Championship in 2013 and 2014, while SMU has been a perennial top 25 team in recent years, including a top five finish in 2014. Georgia Tech won the 2015 ACC Championship after battling the Tigers to a tie after regulation play. Clemson then won the title last year.