April 19, 2009
New London, N.C. – Chesson Hadley fired a 6-under-par 66, while Cameron Tringale shot 71 in his last conference tournament round Sunday, spurring sixth-ranked Georgia Tech to its third Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Golf Championship in four years.
Freshman James White added a 2-under 70, his third straight subpar round of the weekend as Tech posted a 7-under-par score of 281 to hold off the fifth-ranked Clemson, who shot 279. The Tigers began the day five shots behind the Yellow Jackets, but surged on the front nine to take a two-shot lead.
The Yellow Jackets, who led the entire weekend except for the middle part of Sunday’s round, pulled together to shoot 5-under-par on the back nine to regain the lead, finishing the tournament at 18-under 846. Clemson finished at 15-under 849, followed by Duke at 3-under-par 861. NC State and Wake Forest, which began the day tied for third, tied for fourth at 1-over-par 865.
The ACC title is the 11th for the Tech golf program and sixth under head coach Bruce Heppler.
“We haven’t won in a while,” said Heppler, whose team’s last title occurred at the 2007 conference championship, which it shared with Virginia Tech, “so to win a conference championship obviously is a focal point of the year. I’m real proud of them. Clemson is a very good team. To beat them here on a day like today is what golf’s all about. It was shot-for-shot, back-and-forth, so it was a terrific day.”
Hadley, a junior from nearby Raleigh, N.C., began his day with an eagle and two birdies in his first four holes, slipped with bogeys at 7 and 9, then birdied four holes on the incoming nine for his best ACC Championship round. He finished one shot out of the individual lead at 9-under-par 207.
“It was unbelievable,” Hadley said of his team’s back-nine rally. “Everyone on our team was playing great. When we finally got around to the holes where the scoreboard were, I was able to see that Clemson was two shots ahead. I hit one close at 14 and made birdie there, and was able to make some putts on the way in.”
Tringale, a senior from Laguna Niguel, Calif., has been a part of each of Tech’s last three titles, winning the individual crown in 2006 and finishing second twice. Sunday, he posted his ninth subpar round in 12 career at the ACC Championship, and also tied for second at 9-under 207.
“We’ve had a lot of success here, I don’t really know the answer,” said Tringale when asked why the Jackets have won three times in four years. “We just have a good time at this tournament. It’s real relaxed and a fun environment. There’s a great closing stretch here which always makes it exciting. We knew it would be close. Clemson is a good team, and the other teams here are good also.”
With Tech ahead by four and Tringale playing in the last group, tied for the lead after a birdie at the par-3 17th, the Yellow Jacket senior made a decision to go for the green in two at the par-5 18th in an attempt to win his second individual crown. But he bounced the shot off a rock and into Badin Lake, and wound up taking a bogey to finish a stroke short.
White, from Acworth, Ga., played steadily the entire weekend, finishing in a tie for fourth place at 4-under 212, his second top-10 finish this spring. John-Tyler Griffin and David Dragoo each shot 74 Sunday, Griffin finishing tied for 27th and Dragoo tied for 36th.
Clemson’s David May and NC State’s Matt Hill tied for medalist honors at 10-under-par 206. May shot a 66 Sunday, while Hill, who shared the 36-hole lead with Tringale, carded a 70.