- Clemson/NCAA photo
With eight of the top amateur players in the world and 10 Walker Cup members representing their teams at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships, the odds of Turk Pettit
winning the individual championship were probably longer than the distance between the Clemson campus and the Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Pettit, a senior from Auburn, Ala. who was winless in his prior 32 career college events, won the NCAA Division I men’s individual championship on Wednesday at Grayhawk with a 7-under score of 273, good for a one-stroke victory over Oklahoma State freshman Bo Jin
. Pettit, who began the day two strokes behind Jin, carded an even par final round 70 at Grayhawk to become just the second Clemson player to win a NCAA individual title along with Charles Warren in 1997.
The race for the individual championship narrowed to four players, with Ryggs Johnston
of Arizona State and Michael Feagles
of Illinois joining Pettit and Jin in the title mix.
- Jamie Schwaberow photo
Starting his final round on the 10th hole, Pettit moved into a tie for the lead with a pair of birdies over his first nine holes while Jin stumbled out of the gates with bogeys on his first and seventh holes. With Johnston and Feagles dropping out of contention late in the round, the NCAA individual championship was to be decided between a senior stalwart in Pettit whose best finish of the season was a tie for third at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational in late March, and Jin, the hottest player on a talent-rich Oklahoma State team who tied for second at the Big 12 Championships and the Stillwater Regional leading up to nationals.
Playing different sides of the golf course, Pettit was the first to reach the clubhouse at 7-under while Jinn stood on the tee box of the demanding 18th hole needing a birdie on the last to win the individual title. After Jin pulled his tee shot into the heavy rough, the freshman was faced with a daunting, 185-yard second shot from a terrible lie to a back right pin position. His gutsy second shot narrowly missed rolling into the water hazard on the right and came to rest pin high just off the green. Needing to get up-and-down to force a playoff, Jin’s uphill chip shot came up well short and when his 10-foot par attempt slid over the right side of the cup, the name of Turk Pettit stood alone atop the leaderboard.
“A lot of hard work goes into this. To finally get a win and win this one is special,” said Pettit.
With the Tigers failing to advance to the match play portion of the event, Pettit’s win was also a fairytale ending to the long career head coach Larry Penley, who slides into retirement after 38 years of leading the Clemson program. Clemson reached the NCAA Championships 37 times in Penley’s tenure, winning the national title in 2003.
“I’m proud of all of my players,” said Penley. “Today is a great memory I’m going to take with me.”
Arizona State earned the top-seed in the match play portion of the event which gets underway on Tuesday after the Sun Devils cared a 72-hole total of 1127 (-3), three strokes clear of Oklahoma State. Pepperdine, which began the day outside the match play cutline in ninth place, rocketed up the leaderboard to grab the third seed after shooting 9-under on Monday. The top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners slipped from second down to fourth after struggling to a 9-over 289. Illinois, Florida State, Vanderbilt and North Carolina all maintained their positions in the top eight to earn a spot in match play.
Match Play of NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships
Tuesday’s Quarterfinal Matches
No. 1 Arizona State vs. No. 8 North Carolina
No. 2 Oklahoma State vs. No. 7 Vanderbilt
No. 3 Pepperdine vs. No. 6 Florida State
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Illinois
GOLF Channel’s live coverage begins at 12 EST
Semifinals & Championship Match
Wednesday, June 2
ABOUT THE NCAA Division I Championship
30 teams and 6 individuals not on a qualifying
team make up the field for the championship of
Division I women's golf.
After 72 holes of stroke play, the individual
champion is crowned, and the low 8 teams advance
match play to determine the team champion.
View Complete Tournament Information