CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson will begin the spring portion of its 2022-23 men’s golf schedule on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Watersound Invitational at Shark’s Tooth Golf Club in Panama City, Fla.
The field includes eight teams, five of whom are ranked in the top 25 of both Golfweek and Golfstat. The field includes Clemson, host school Florida State (11th in Golfstat and 15th by Golfweek), Georgia Tech (12th in both polls), Alabama (17th in both polls), Oklahoma State (16th in Golfstat and 18th in Golfweek), and Mississippi State (24th in Golfstat and 22nd in Golfweek). Virginia Tech and Air Force round out the field. Individually six of the top 50 players in the nation according to Golfstat will be among the players contesting for the individual crown.
Jordan Byrd’s Tigers will take two sophomores, a freshman, a junior and a senior to the tournament that is in its second year.
Clemson finished fifth out of 14 teams at the Watersound Invitational last year. Jacob Bridgeman, now on the Korn Ferry Tour, led the way with a fourth-place finish after shooting four-under-par 212 for 54 holes. Kyle Cottam finished 22nd and Kian Rose and Colby Patton were tied for 28th.
Andrew Swanson and Jonathan Nielsen will be the top players in the tournament for the Tigers based on their 71.53 stroke averages so far this year. Swanson finished the fall portion of the schedule in grand style by winning the Ka’anapali Classic in Hawaii with an 18-under-par score of 195, the most strokes under par by a Clemson golfer for a 54-hole tournament in history. He had a final round 63 to win the tournament.
Nielsen finished ninth at The Blessings for his top tournament of the fall. He also finished 13th with a 212 score at the Golf Club of Georgia. Nielsen had 10 rounds at par or better among his 15 rounds last fall.
Zack Gordon, the only current Tiger who played in this tournament last year, also will be in the Clemson lineup after averaging 72.93 for his 15 rounds this past fall. Gordon had a pair of top 15 finishes to start the fall, 12th at the Maui Jim and 14th at the Folds of Honor. Gordon is a veteran of 37 tournaments and 108 rounds in his five years with the program.
Freshman Thomas Higgins and sophomore Sean Curran round out the Clemson lineup. Higgins finished sixth out of 62 players in his first career event at the Sharkey Invitational 10 days ago when he had an even-par 216 in the individual tournament. The rookie from Ireland sat out the fall. Curran finished 25th with a 222 score at the same event. Freshman Austin Scott will play the Watersound as an individual.
Live scoring will be available Sunday through Tuesday at golfstat.com. The address for the course is Sharks Tooth Golf Club, 2003 Wild Heron Way, Panama City, Fla. 32413.
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