Sophomore Billy Kennerly fired a career-best round of 67 for the first-round lead while leading the Clemson golf team to a seven under-par 281 team score and a third-place standing after the first round of the Puerto Rico Classic at the Rio Mar River Course in El Grande, Puerto Rico.
The Tigers are just two shots behind first place Alabama and one shot behind Oklahoma in the 15-team field that includes six top 25 teams.
The tournament continues Monday and finishes on Tuesday. This is Clemson’s first tournament of the spring season.
The 19th ranked Tigers also got a 69 from senior Crawford Reeves and an even par 72 by freshman Stephen Behr. The 281 team score tied for the best by the Tigers this year.
Kennerly had a career best round thanks to six birdies and an eagle on the par 72 course that is 6902 yards in length. The sophomore finished with three consecutive birdies on holes two, three and four.
The highlight of the day for Kennerly was an eagle two on the par four 13th hole. He was the only player in the 75-player field to eagle that hole and it was just the second eagle of his Clemson career.
Kennerly holds the individual lead by one shot over three players after the first round with his 67. It was a strong start to the spring season for Kennerly, who struggled to a 76.22 scoring average during the fall season.
Reeves also had struggled in the fall with a 75.33 average, but the Tiger senior started his final spring with a three under par 69 and stands in fifth place individually. He had a clean round that included four birdies and just one bogey. Reeves birdied his last hole of the day, the fifth.
Combined with Kennerly, Reeves, helped Clemson cut a six-shot deficit to Alabama to just two over the final four holes.
Behr, who was Clemson’s top golfer in the fall with a 71.78 average, had four birdies, all on the back nine on the way to his even par 72. He had a double bogey on the 17th hole that kept him from an under par round.
Freshman Cody Proveaux was the fourth counting score for Clemson with a 73 and he stands in 28th position. Proveaux had four birdies, but also had two double bogeys.
Thomas Bradshaw, playing his first tournament of the year, had five birdies, but also had two double bogeys on the way to his score of 74.