The Tigers need to finish in the top five after the third and final round on Saturday to advance to the NCAA National Tournament at Inverness in Toledo, OH May 26-30.
The Galloway National course proved to be a challenge for all the teams on Thursday, as winds averaged 20 miles an hour and gusted to 35 miles an hour at times. None of the 75 players broke par on the par 71 course that is 7022 yards in length. Clemson's 26-over score was its highest in an NCAA Tournament since the Tigers were 30-over-par in the final round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, TN. That day in 1996 Tigers Woods of Stanford won the national championship despite shooting a final round score of 80.
While Clemson's team score was uncharacteristically high, the Tigers are in good shape relative to making the cut. Clemson is just three strokes off the fifth place cutline entering the second round. Illinois, who played with the Tigers on Thursday, is in fifth place at 23 over par 207.
Tennessee has the first round lead after shooting a +12 team score of 296. Wake Forest, who has not defeated Clemson in four previous head to head tournament meetings this year, is in second place at +13, 297. Virginia, who is in third place at 14 over par.
Stanley, Clemson's second ranked player in history in terms of career stroke average with a 71.68 average, shot a one over par 72 on Thursday to lead the Tigers. Stanley's round included two birdies and three bogeys, including a bogey five on the final hole. He had nine-hole scores of 35-37. Stanley, the number-seven ranked player in the nation, is a tie for second place with his 72 score. Darren Renwick of Tennessee is the individual leader with an even par 71.
Luke Hopkins, Clemson's number-five ranked player, was Clemson's second best golfer on Thursday with a five over par 76. He stands in 18th place individually. The native of Greer, SC was the only Tiger to register a birdie on the par four 18th hole when he chipped in for 30 feet. He finished with a team best three birdies and eight bogeys on the day.
Clemson's other three golfers, all of whom have a last name that begins with the letter M, all had the exact same score, a 10-over par 81. It was the first time this year Clemson counted two scores in the 80s towards its team total. David May and Ben Martin, who both made first-team All-ACC this year, had season high scores of 81. In fact, neither golfer had scored in the 80s in any round all year.
Phillip Mollica shot a 43 on the front side, including a triple bogey six on the par three eighth hole and a double bogey seven on the par five ninth hole. He battled back with birdies on the 10th and 13th holes, but played the last five holes four over par.
David May, who was co-champion of the ACC Tournament with a 10-under par score in his last tournament, was 10 over par on Thursday in the windy conditions. It was the high round of the year for May. He started well and was just two over par for his first 12 holes, but played the last six holes in eight over par.
Ben Martin, who had scored 72 or better in 14 of his 15 spring rounds this year, had a season high 81 on Thursday as well. He had eight bogeys, a double bogey and no birdies.
Clemson in sixth place
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