New London, N.C.—Carson Young shot a four-under par 68 on Sunday, and all five Clemson golfers finished in the top 16 for the first time in the history of the school’s participation of the event, as Clemson won the ACC Men’s Golf Championship at the Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
Clemson finished with a team score of 25-under-par 839 for the 54 holes and three days the third best score vs. par in Clemson history at the league championship and the best since 2004 when Clemson shot 27 under in winning the event. Larry Penley’s team finished 11 shots ahead of second-seed Wake Forest, the largest margin of victory for Clemson at the ACC tournament since 1988 when a team led by All-Americans Kevin Johnson and Chris Patton won by 14 shots.
Overall, it was Clemson’s 10th ACC Tournament Championship, the ninth under 33-year head coach Penley, but the first since 2004. “This was a long time coming,” said Penley, who won the 68th tournament of his career, second in ACC history to WakeForest legend Jesse Haddock, who won 83.
“When we lost in the playoff to Georgia Tech last year I was starting to wonder if we were ever going to win again. But we had three guys back from last year who experienced that and they had this tournament circled on their calendar. Last year’s experience motivated them, especially our seniors (Miller Capps and Stephen Behr).
“We had confidence we could win this tournament, but especially after the first round when we shot 15 under 273. We knew we were going to have to play aggressively and we did the entire tournament.”
One of the keys throughout the weekend was the ability for all five players to shoot low scores. All five players shot in the 60s at one point or another, the first time a Clemson team had done that in 63 ACC Tournament appearances.
The depth was further documented by the fact that all five Clemson players finished in the final 16, also a first for a Tiger golf team at the ACC Tournament. Freshman Bryson Nimmer and junior Austin Langdale led the Tigers with 54-hole scores of 209, a tie for fourth place. Capps finished at 213 and a ninth place standing, while Behr finished in a tie for 13th with a 214 total. It was the third straight year Behr had shot exactly 214 at the ACC Tournament.
Young finished in a tie for 16th with an even par score of 216, but he was Clemson’s top player on Sunday. The junior had five birdies and one bogey in shooting his four under 68. The first two days he shot 72 and 76, respectively, and was Clemson’s non-counter each day. But he got off to a great start with three birdies within the first five holes on Sunday, including a chip-in from 25 feet on the fifth hole.
“Carson’s play was big today,” said Penley. “He was our first player and got some birdies on the board for us early.” While Young is fourth on the team in stroke average, he is tied for the team lead in rounds in the 60s.
Nimmer’s play was also a big story of the weekend. The freshman from Bluffton, S.C., who played in just one tournament in the fall, had rounds of 67-70-71 in shooting 209 to finish in a tie for fourth. His 209 total tied the Clemson record for a freshman at the ACC Tournament (John Engler, 1998). His father, Tony, played on Clemson’s first ACC Championship team in 1982.
Clemson started the day with an eight-shot lead, and kept the margin at double figures most of the day. The lead was at 15 on the back nine with five holes left. “I told the team last night that if we shoot the best round of the day all three rounds we will win,” said Penley with a smile. “But that was our mindset. Play the best of the 12 teams that day. You have to have that mindset on this course.” Clemson almost accomplished that feat, shooting the low round each of the first two days and tying North Carolina’s 282 score on Sunday.
The victory was the third of the spring for Clemson, the first time since the 2003 National Championship season that Clemson has won three in any season. Clemson, ranked 10th, 11th and 12th in the three college golf polls entering the ACC Tournament, now awaits its NCAA Regional assignment a week from Monday. For the first time since 2004, Clemson is the automatic qualifier from the ACC.
*Senior Miller Capps had three birdies today, including a four on the par five 18th hole. That was the final hole of his Clemson career at the ACC Tournament and it was the 400th birdie of his career. He is the sixth Clemson golfer with 400 or more career birdies.
*Clemson won the ACC Football championship in the fall and now the golf in the spring. This is the first time since the 1987-88 academic year that Clemson has won the football and golf league championships in the same year. Both programs won championships in the same academic year three times in the 1980s.
*The -25 final score was the third best in Clemson history in the ACC Tournament. The record is a -28 score by the championship team of 1998 and a -27 by the title team of 2004.
*Austin Langdale made a 10 foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to finish with a 209 score, his career best total for a 54-hole event by one shot. “That was basically the same putt I missed last year on the last hole that would have given us the championship,” said Langdale afterwards. It was fitting that he made that putt, the last shot of the day to end this ACC Championships.
*For his career, Langdale now has shot 13 under par for nine rounds at the Old North State Club and has three top 11 finishes.
*A member of the Nimmer family now has four straight top 10 finishes at the ACC Tournament. Tony Nimmer, Bryson’s father, finished exactly sixth at the ACC Tournaments of 1982-83-84. The Tigers won the title in 1982. Bryson finished in a tie for fourth with a 209 score on Sunday. The Nimmers are the first father-son combination in Clemson golf history to win ACC Championships.
*Clemson’s seniors experienced an improvement in their ACC Tournament finish each year. The Tigers were fifth during their freshman year, third as sophomores, second last year and first as seniors.
ACC Championship Results
1. Clemson 839, 2. Wake Forest 850, 3. Florida State, 859 4. Georgia Tech, 864, 5. Duke 865, 6. Louisville 866, 7. N.CState 869, 8. North Carolina and Virginia 870, 10. Notre Dame 883, 11. Virginia Tech 890, 12. Boston College 901.
4. Austin Langdale and Bryson Nimmer 209, 9. Miller Capps 213, 13. Stephen Behr 214, 16. Carson Young 216.