Clemson finishes tied for 14th at NCAA Tournament
Eugene, Ore.—Austin Langdale had a one-over-par 71 and classmate Carson Young had a two-over-par 72 on Sunday to lead Clemson to a five-way tie for 14th place at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon. Clemson finished with a score of 27 over par 867, tied with Louisville, Oklahoma, TCU and Georgia.
The top 15 teams from the 30 team field advance to the final round of stroke play on Monday, but the Tigers did not advance as they lost out in the tie breaker system. Ties for the final positions in the stroke play tournament are broken by comparing the aggregate of the non-counting scores for the three rounds. Louisville won the tie-breaker for the 14th spot based on the +20 aggregate for their non-counters in the tournament. Oklahoma earned the 15th and final spot with a +24. Clemson’s non counters were +27 for the three rounds.
Knowing he needed to make a birdie on the 450-yard par four last hole as Clemson’s final player, Stephen Behr hit his drive down the middle and hit his second shot from 180 yards to within eight feet of the pin. But, his birdie attempt missed by one inch on the right of the hole and he had to settle for a par.
Clemson’s tie for 14th place is the best finish for the program at the national tournament since a fifth-place finish in 2008 at Purdue. That was two years before the NCAA went to match play for determining the champion.
“We just didn’t play that well all week,” said Head Coach Larry Penley, who has now taken Clemson to a top 15 national finish 18 times. “Our game all year has been hitting the ball in the fairway and hitting greens in regulation. This course was suited to our game. But, we did not do that this week as consistently as we had all year. There were too many drives off the fairway, too many drives into sand traps and that caught up with us.
“This is tough right now because we missed advancing by just one shot and you look at so many shots over the course of the tournament.
“I feel for our seniors, Stephen Behr and Miller Capps, who have done so much for this program. We have made progress each year they have been with the program, leading to the ACC Championship and a top 15 NCAA this year.”
In the end it was difficulty playing the back nine that was a big factor for Clemson. The Tigers played the front nine holes in even par for the three rounds, but the team was +27 on the back nine, including +11 on Sunday.
Langdale started strong on Sunday with three birdies and no bogeys on the front nine. He finished with a 71, his best round of the week. Young had a 72 that included four birdies and six bogeys. He made at the time a clutch birdie on the 18th hole that put Clemson under the cutline.
Behr was Clemson’s top golfer for the tournament with a three-over par score of 213. The graduate senior had rounds of 70-69-74. He finished in 20th place among the 156 players. He finished his career seventh in stroke average, just ahead of former Clemson All-American Jonathan Byrd.
Capps was Clemson’s fourth counting score on Sunday with a five-over-par 75. He had one birdie and finishes his career with 417, sixth best in Clemson history.
Clemson played well against the 15 teams that will advance to Monday’s final round. The Tigers defeated 11 of the 15 teams still in the tournament during the year and had a 15-12-1 overall record against those schools.
NCAA National Championship
Team Totals After Three Rounds
May 27-29, 2016
Eugene Country Club, Eugene, Oregon
1.Vanderbilt 845, 2. Texas 847, 3. Southern California 850, 4. LSU 851, 5. Oregon 852, 6. Arkansas 855, 7. Arizona State 857, 8. California 858, 9. Oklahoma State and Illinois 859, 11. Kentucky 863, 12. South Carolina 865, 13. Florida 866, 14. Louisville, Oklahoma, Clemson, TCU and Georgia 867, 19. Houston, Florida State and Auburn 868, 22. Virginia 869, 23. Wake Forest and Alabama 871, 25. San Diego State 872, 26. South Florida 876, 27. Baylor 880, 28. Stanford 884, 29. Purdue 898, 30. UAB 902.
20. Stephen Behr, 213, 85. Miller Capps 220, 103. Austin Langdale 222, 118. Bryson Nimmer 224, 125. Carson Young 225.