AIKEN — Clemson freshman Austin Langdale used experience to claim his first college event Tuesday.
After playing six tournaments at Palmetto Golf Club in recent years, Langdale knew just what to do to close out his seventh. Langdale carded a final-round 72 to hold on for a one-shot win in the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate.
“I’ve played a lot of rounds on this course,” said Langdale, who won the 2012 Southern Cross as a junior at Pendleton High School. “Today, it was more of a patience thing.”
Langdale finished with an even-par 210 total for the 54-hole event. He edged Virginia’s Derek Bard, who posted 70. Liberty’s Niklas Lindstrom closed with 67 to finish two shots back in third.
South Carolina’s Matt NeSmith was the low local finisher, posting 71 to finish tied for 14th at 217.
Behind Langdale’s effort, Clemson shot 283 to claim the team title with an 854 total, two shots ahead of Virginia (279). South Carolina shot 288 and placed third, 13 shots off the pace.
Georgia Regents, which began the semester 21 wins below .500, continued its hot play and is now at minus-five after defeating six teams in the event. The Jaguars shot 287 and finished tied for sixth place at 876 with host USC Aiken, which shot 288. Meechai Padung, who shot 72, was the top Georgia Regents finisher with a tie for 17th at 218.
“We played pretty good today, but we let a few shots get away,” Jaguars coach Jack O’Keefe said. “We’re making progress on our ranking and our .500 record. We have to keep moving in that direction.”
No. 2 USC Aiken, the lone Division II team in the field, featured a pair of top-20 finishes with Kyle Godsman closing with 68 to finished tied for 17th at 218. Also, Brandon Robinson-Thompson shot 73 to tie Godsman.
“We didn’t play our best, but we don’t want to play our best this time of year,” said USC Aiken coach Michael Carlisle, referring to postseason play in May. “I think we’re doing all right.”
Langdale did just fine after opening with double bogey at No. 2 in the final round. He responded with a 7-iron to 2 feet for birdie at the par-4 third. After carding bogeys at Nos. 6, 8 and 11, Langdale rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 13, added another birdie at the par-5 14th and held on down the stretch.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” said Langdale, who found himself in contention in his biggest event since tying for second at the 2013 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. “This is awesome.”