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September 25, 2023

Clemson golf spring preview

Clemson Athletics // Provided

Clemson’s men’s golf team celebrates.

After an exciting 2021 Golf season that ended with a top-15 finish, an ACC championship and an individual NCAA championship in Turk Pettit, Clemson men’s golf has its eye set on another successful season.
Head coach Jordan Byrd is taking the reins over for the long-tenured and highly successful Larry Penley. Penley coached for 38 years, winning a national championship in 2003 and a myriad of other awards, including winning ACC Coach of the Year seven times.
Through the beginning of the fall season, the Tigers started very strong with an impressive start at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate Invitational, finishing second out of 14 with two top-10 finishes and five of six finishing in the top-25. 
However, the performance was followed by a disappointing showing at the hotly contested Colonial Collegiate, where the Tigers finished 14 out of 15, only edging out Baylor by four strokes. The Tigers then closed out the fall season, finishing ninth of 15 at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate. 
Recently, the Tigers had a great showing at the Thomas Sharkey Collegiate hosted in Statesboro, Georgia, on Sunday and Monday to warm up for the season. Most notably, Colby Patton finished second in the field of 45. He only lost to GeorgiaSouthern’s Mason Williams. 
Patton shot an impressive 69 on his birthday in his final round on the course. Patton’s three rounds were 77-73-69, hitting 219 over three rounds and averaging 73 per round.
This was arguably Patton’s most impressive performance since he won the Hummingbird Invitational in 2017as a freshman.
The two other golfers that participated were Drayton Stewart, who finished in 19th place, hitting a 78-75-78 averaging 77 per round, and Sean Curran, who finished in 23rd place, hitting an 82-75-76 averaging 77.667 per round.
The Nexus Collegiate is set to take place Feb. 14-16 at Nassau in the Bahamas on an absolutely stunning Albany Golf Club.
The Clemson Golf roster is going to be a difficult decision for Byrd. The tournament roster started very steadily with seniors Jacob Bridgeman, Kyle Cottam, Patton and Zack Gordon, as well as junior Carter Pendley and sophomore Kian Rose.
After disappointing rounds at the Colonial Collegiate from Patton and Pendley, Byrd decided to start the freshman phenom Andrew Swanson at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate. 
The move was made after an impressive performance by Swanson at the JT Poston Invitational, where he finished eighth.
After being elevated, Swanson had a literal and figurative subpar outing at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, finishing 62nd out of 75 and six strokes away from the closest Clemson golfer, which could have boosted them into the three-way tie for sixth place in the team rankings.
Bridgeman is Clemson’s most serious contender to defend Clemson’s individual national championship.
He finished last season in 14th place and has been ranked No. 10 in the PGA University rankings. The two-time All-ACC and two-time All-American has carried an impressive 70.7 strokes per round through his first three years and has continued his success through his first three tournaments averaging 69.67strokes per round.
Though Bridgeman has been dominant, Cottam, Gordan and Rose have looked just as good.
There is no assurance, but it is assumed these four will be fighting for the top spot this weekend atThe Nexus Collegiate.

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