Tigers finish second in ACC tourney

David May fired a final round 66 to win co-medalist honors, but Clemson could not overcome Georgia Tech in the team race in the final round of the 56th ACC Golf tournament at The Old North State Club at Uwharrie Point in New London, NC.

May's 66 was the best final round by an individual at the ACC Tournament in Clemson golf history. The previous best was a 67 by Stephen Poole at The Old North State Club in 2006.

Clemson trailed Georgia Tech by five shots entering the final round and defeated the Yellow Jackets on Sunday, but by just two shots, giving the Yellow Jackets the victory. Clemson had a 279 in the final round, the best team score in the field on Sunday. Tech won the three-day tournament with and 846 score, while Clemson was second at 849. Duke was third at 861, while Wake Forest and NC State were for fourth at 865.

May tied for first in the individual race with NC State's Matt Hill at 10 under par 206. The Clemson senior made up four shots in the final round with his six under par 66, his top round of the year and his best round since he had a 65 in the second round of the ACC Tournament at The Old North State Club on April 22, 2006.

May's round on Sunday included eight birdies and two bogeys. He had seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch between the fourth and 11th holes to get to seven under par for the day and 11 under par for the tournament. He hit a wedge to within a foot on the par five 11th hole to give him his eighth birdie of the day. He could have won the tournament outright with a birdie on the par five final hole, but his approach shot was 25 feet short and he two putted for the co-championship.

"This win puts John in a pretty good list of players from Clemson who have won this tournament," said head Coach Larry Penley. "He is a senior who has played this course of four years and it fits his game well. I never worried about him the entire tournament. I knew he would play well today. He executed. I am very proud of him. This is a great win for him in his senior year."

It was the first win of May's Clemson career.

May joins Parker Moore (1976), Kevin Johnson (1988), Danny Ellis (1992), Charles Warren (1997 and 1998) and John Engler (2001) as Clemson golfers who have won the ACC Tournament. May played the par four holes at eight under par, best in the field and he also led the tournament in birdies with 17.

"I had some good stretches of making putts, but I didn't make a lot of long puts," said May. "I was able to hit the ball closer to the hole today and that made the difference. It was fun out there. I wish I had made a birdie on the last hole, but I had hit my drive in the water on 18 each of the first two rounds, so I played my drive further right (away from the water), which did not allow me to go for the green in two. But I will take the win. A lot of great Clemson players have won this tournament and it is an honor to be on the list with them."

Clemson trailed Georgia Tech by five shots entering the final round and trailed by eight shots four holes into Sunday's round. But, Clemson made a run behind May's seven birdies and caught Georgia Tech by the ninth hole when May made a 10-foot birdie and Georgia Tech's Cameron Tringale made a bogey. Clemson had a two stroke lead at one point and led by one with five holes left. But Georgia Tech's counting players played the last five holes at two under par, while Clemson played the last five at two over.

Clemson had three players finish in the top 10, the first time that has happed since 2004. May's 206 score was the best by a Clemson golfer at the ACC Tournament since Jack Ferguson had a 206 leading Clemson to the team title in 2004. He is the first Tiger to win the ACC Tournament since John Engler in 2001.

Kyle Stanley had a 71 on Sunday and finished at 213 for the tournament, good enough for eighth place. It was his second top 10 finish at the ACC Tournament. Stanley got off to a good start on Sunday and was three under par through 13 holes, but he made bogeys on the 14th, 15th and 17th holes before finishing with a birdie on the last hole.

Phillip Mollica shot a 70 on Sunday to finish in 10th place, his best career finish at the ACC Tournament and his second top 10 of the season. Mollica made birdies on four of his first seven holes and finished the event with 14 birdies, tied for second best in the 55-player field.

Ben Martin finished with his second straight even par 72 on Sunday. He finished the tournament in 15th place at one-over-par 217. Luke Hopkins had a 75 on Sunday and his score did not count towards Clemson's team score. He had 16 pars, a bogey and a double bogey on Sunday.

"We had a chance to win today," said Head Coach Larry Penley. "We just made too many three-putts and too many non-conversions on approach shots on the closing holes. We competed hard today and took it to them, but we just didn't have enough at the end. We made the run to take the lead, then we stopped making birdies and Tech picked it back up. Tech was the better team today and deserved to win."

Clemson will now await a bid to the NCAA tournament, which will be awarded in early May. The regional tournament will be held May 14-16 at a site to be determined.

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