Clemson trails first place Oklahoma State and Florida State by just three shots. The Cowboys and Seminoles both shot rounds of 283, five under par.
The top eight teams after Thursday's third round advance to a single
elimination match play tournament that will determine the national
Clemson had a strong start and had the lead at one point by three shots
at nine under par. Clemson still had a two-shot lead with three holes
left, but the Tigers played those last three holes at five-over-par and
dropped from first to fifth in a matter of minutes.
Still, it was a solid day for the Tigers, especially relative to the
scores the Tigers had at this same course 14 years ago. Clemson's best
round at the 1996 NCAAs at The Honors Course was a 296 and Clemson's
final round 318 that year remains the high round in school history for
an NCAA National tournament.
Hopkins round of 69 tied a season high and he is in third place overall
in the 156 player field. He got off to a great start with birdies on
the first three holes, all on putts of at least 15 feet. He also made a
12-footer on the eighth hole to make the turn at four under par. He
birdied the par three 16th hole when he made a 10 footer, and the par
five 17th hole when he made a 12 footer. He made six birdie putts that
totaled 90 feet in length for his round.
He came to the 18th tee with a one-shot lead and needing just a par to
tie Tiger Woods collegiate record for the Honors Course. But he hit his
drive into the left rough and his second shot went into a trap right and
short of the green. He then three-putted from 20 feet to make a double
Still it was a strong day for the Clemson graduate from Greer, SC who
was ranked 86th in the nation entering the NCAAs.
"I was not thinking
about Tiger Woods record when I was playing the last hole, I didn't know
anything about it," said Hopkins when asked by reporters after the
round. "I had one of my best putting days ever. It was just a shame
that I three putted that last hole. I got off to a great start with
three straight birdies and that was big.
"As a team it was disappointing to be nine under at one point and finish
two under. But at the end of the day we are just three shots out of the
lead and right in the game with the goal of reaching the final eight on
Martin had a round of two-under-par 70, his third straight under-par
round in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. He finished at the NCAA Regional 10
days ago. The only Clemson player who has played in a previous national
tournament was four under par threw 10 holes and had a seven foot putt
to go to five under on the 11th hole. But that putt missed. Martin
struggled with his driver coming in, but did make a solid par on the
difficult 18th hole. Martin is in 13th place entering the second round
of the individual race.
Jacob Burger shot a solid one over par 73 that included a birdie on the
par three 14th hole when his tee shot from 160 yards finished just four
feet past the pin. Freshman Corbin Mills had a two over par 74 and was
Clemson's final counter. Crawford Reeves struggled in his first career
NCAA round and finished with an 84. His round did not count towards
Clemson's team round.
Reeves has shot under par in the second round in four consecutive
tournaments and looks to improve on Wednesday.
The Tigers had a late start on Tuesday and will have an early start
8:05 AM, on Wednesday morning. The field will be cut to the low eight
teams on Thursday. The eight remaining teams will go into a match play
tournament starting on Friday. The national champion will be crowned on
"We threw away a really good round with the way we finished," said
Clemson Head Coach Larry Penley, who has taken the Tigers to the NCAA
national tournament in 24 of his 27 years as Clemson Head Coach. "We
were really in good shape with just a couple of holes left. You can't
play the 17th hole (par five) over par as a team, and we played 18 at
three over par. That really put a damper on the day.
"Overall we were hitting the ball in the fairway and putting well for 16
holes. Hopefully we will forget about those last two holes and come
back strong in about 12 hours (when Clemson starts its second round)."
Tigers in fifth place
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