April 7, 2017
Salem, S.C. – Junior James Clark fired an even-par 72 to pace Georgia Tech in blustery conditions Friday, and the 21st-ranked Yellow Jackets are in second place following the opening round of the Clemson Invitational, which is being contested at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls.
TECH LINEUP – On a nearly clear day with winds gusting to 25 miles per hour, only two players broke par on the 7,103-yard, par 72 course, and Georgia Tech managed to avoid disaster with only two double-bogeys. Clark had one of them, on the par-4 15th, but birdied two of the last three holes to finish even and take third place individually after the opening round.
Freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) had a 73 for the Yellow Jackets, good for a sixth-place tie, while classmate Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) carded a 75 (tied for 15th) and senior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) added a 76 as the Yellow Jackets posted an 8-over-par total of 296. Freshman Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) shot 81 with no birdies and did not count
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Eighteenth-ranked Clemson emerged from the opening round with a two-shot lead over the Yellow Jackets after posting a 6-over-par 294. The hosts were led by Langdale’s 72 and a pair of 73s from Carson Young and Doc Redman.
No. 38 Alabama, the NCAA champion in 2013 and 2014, is in third place at 298 (+10), followed by the College of Charleston at 303 (+15) in fourth and SMU at 306 (+18) in fifth among the 13 teams in the field.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – William Rainey of the College of Charleston shot 3-under-par 69 to take the early lead, and Alabama’s Davis Riley carded a 1-under-par 71, the only two players to break par.
Clark is in a three-way tie with Clemson teammates Austin Langdale and Peter Mathison at 73, while Ogletree is tied with five others at 73.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Clemson Invitational is a 54-hole event that begins Friday and runs through Sunday with 18 holes each day. It is played at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, a 7,103-yard, par 72 layout in Salem, S.C.
The Yellow Jackets finished second to the host team, Clemson, by 11 shots in the inaugural tournament last spring. Whaley captured the second tournament title of his career with an 8-under-par score of 208, winning by two over Robin Sciot-Siegrist of Louisville. Junior James Clark tied for seventh place.
At No. 18 Clemson is the highest ranked team in the field, having won five events this season. Also in the field are Alabama (No. 38), Boston College, College of Charleston, Elon, Furman, Louisville, Michigan State (No. 34), Navy, SMU, UNC-Wilmington, and Winthrop. Alabama won the NCAA Championship in 2013 and 2014, while SMU has been a perennial top 25 team in recent years, including a top five finish in 2014. Georgia Tech won the 2015 ACC Championship after battling the Tigers to a tie after regulation play. Clemson then won the title last year.