New London, N.C.—Billy Kennerly shot a six-under-par 66 to lead Clemson to a 283 team score and a tie for second place after two rounds of the ACC Men’s Golf Tournament at The Old North State Club in New London, N.C. Sunday’s final round promises to be among the most exciting in recent memory as five teams are within two shots of the lead.
Georgia Tech, who has won five of the last six ACC Tournaments, all at The Old North State Club, has a one-shot lead with a 563 team score, 13-under-par for the first 36 holes. Clemson, No. 1 ranked Florida State and Virginia are all tied for second just one shot back at 12-under-par 564. Virginia Tech, who had a strong seven-under-par round and held the lead at one point on Saturday, is in fifth place, but just two shots out of the lead at 565.
Kennerly single handedly kept Clemson in the tournament with his second round performance that included seven birdies and one bogey. His 66 was the second best of his career and best by a Clemson golfer in the ACC Tournament since 2012 when Crawford Reeves shot a 66 on the same course. Kennerly was a freshman and contributed a 70 himself that day while he witnessed Crawford’s performance. It was just the fourth round of 66 or better by a Clemson golfer at the ACC Tournament in the last 15 years.
“I hit 15 of 18 greens today, (not much different from Friday when he had a 73), but I made some putts today and that was the key,” said Kennerly, who made four birdie putts of at least 15 feet, including a 60-footer on the fifth hole.
Kennerly, a senior, is excited to have a shot at the team championship on Sunday. “That is what we came here to do. We had the goal of being in position to win the championship on Sunday and we are in position just one shot out of the lead..”
Head Coach Larry Penley is pleased to have his team in the hunt and couldn’t say enough about Kennerly’s performance. “That was quite a round,” said Penley, who has won eight ACC titles in his career, including four in which Clemson has trailed entering the final round.
“He was outstanding all day, just a steady in every phase of the game. He really has done that all year. We are in position to have a chance to win this golf tournament because of what he did today.”
Kennerly was Clemson’s non counter in the first round when he shot a 73, just the second time all year he has been the non-counter. But his 66 on Saturday was the third best individual round of the year by a Clemson golfer and the 13th time this year he has had the best round of the day by a Tiger.
Kennerly has a 139 total for his two rounds, five-under-par, good enough for a tie for sixth place individually. His 66 in the second round was tied for the best of the round with Trevor Cone of Virginia Tech and Jack Maguire of Florida State. There were only eight rounds in the 60s for the entire 60 player field.
Miller Capps was Clemson’s second best player on Saturday and has been Clemson’s second best player for the tournament with scores of 69-71. His 140 total is tied for ninth best in the field. His 71 on Saturday included four birdies and three bogeys. His most interesting birdie came on the sixth hole when he hit his drive into the trees on the right side. He hit a line drive off the pine straw to within 15 feet, then made the putt for birdie.
Stephen Behr had a one over par 73 on Saturday and is tied for 15th in the field with a 143 score for 36 holes, one under par. Sophomore Austin Langdale also had 73 in the second round and is at 144 for the first two rounds, tied for 18th. He got a bad break on his final hole of the day when his ball was covered with mud on his third shot to the par five and he ended up making a bogey.
Cody Proveaux shot a 77 in the second round and his score did not count towards the team score. He is tied for 32nd individually with a 148 score.
“We came here with the goal to have a chance to win this tournament on the last day and we are certainly there,” said Penley. “Five teams are within two shots of the lead going into tomorrow. It should be quite a final round."