This past April, two McConnell Golf properties in South Carolina hosted ACC tournaments. Duke University emerged at the top of the leaderboard for both, but according to the teams and coaches, McConnell Golf stood out as a true champion.
“The 2017 ACC Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships were a great success,” says Kris Pierce, ACC senior associate commissioner for championships. “The ACC and our member schools are grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by McConnell Golf, Musgrove Mill Golf Club, and The Reserve Golf Club, along with all of the staff, volunteers, and club members.”
The Men’s Golf Championship took place at Musgrove Mill Golf Club following 15 years at Old North State Club. Meanwhile, the Women’s Golf Championship was played at The Reserve Golf Club following a nine-year run at Sedgefield Country Club’s Ross course.
A SHOT MAKERS COURSE AT MUSGROVE MILL
Duke’s men’s golf team won the ACC Tournament for its first league title since 2013. The Blue Devils won for the eighth time overall, managing a 14-under-par score of 850. Duke finished with a 12- shot advantage on runner-up Clemson.
The Men’s Tournament was thrown a curve ball just prior to the start, when a dire weather forecast for Sunday caused the league to announce the teams would play 18 holes on Friday and 36 on Saturday, double teeing every round to ensure a 54-hole tournament. Not to mention a few downpours at night, which led to playing lift, clean, and place in the fairways both days.
“Despite all that, everything went great,” says Jeff Tallman, Musgrove Mill director of golf. “We gave them a good show. The golf course held up well. Our volunteers stepped it up, sunup to sundown.”
Tallman said that despite the ACC’s relatively fast move to different venues, McConnell Golf’s attention to quality assured a smooth transition.
“The ACC had to pick a spot quickly after being told they couldn’t hold the tournament in North Carolina, so they came down here,” he says. “The greatest thing was the comfort factor of all 12 ACC schools coming to Musgrove Mill. They knew what they were going to get. Tom Ducey and a few others from Old North State Club came down to help. There were a lot of familiar faces for the coaches and players, which helped. I
think they found that down at The Reserve, too, where it was a smooth transition and made it really comfort- able. They just knew what they were getting with the quality of a McConnell property.”
Sophomore Alex Smalley led Duke with a 4-under 212 for a fifth-place tie. Teammate Jake Shuman tied for eighth place at 214. Matt Oshrine and Alexander Matlari tied for 10th at 215.
Wake Forest placed third at 3-over, followed by Florida State (4-over), North Carolina State (9-over), Virginia (10- over), Georgia Tech and North Carolina (both 19-over), Virginia Tech (29-over), Notre Dame (36-over), Louisville (41- over), and Boston College (57-over).
The individual champion was Jimmy Stanger of Virginia at 5-under 211, winning a playoff with North Carolina’s Ben Griffin, Wake Forest’s Paul McBride, and Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer. Wake Forest’s Will Zalatoris and N.C. State’s Stephen Franken tied with Smalley for fifth at 4-under.
“I think the players and coaches really liked the change of venue,” says Tallman. “This golf course is totally different from Old North State. It’s more of a shot-makers course; it’s not a bomber’s course. They weren’t able to let it go down here; they had to position the ball. I think that was a challenge.”
Longtime N.C. State men’s coach Richard Sykes approached Tallman after the tournament and told him how much his team had enjoyed Musgrove Mill. “I love this place,” Sykes said to Tallman. “But when we get in the van and drive back to Raleigh, I think I’m gonna have to stop at a cow pasture and let these guys hit some drivers.”