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Nottingham headed back to Clemson for extra year

Joe Avento • Apr 11, 2020 at 2:30 PM

KINGSPORT — William Nottingham is taking the NCAA up on its offer of another year of eligibility, and when he rejoins the Clemson golf team in the fall, he’ll have another highlight on his résumé.

Nottingham shot a 58 Wednesday at Ridgefields Golf & Athletic Club, going around the Donald Ross-designed course in 14 under par. He was playing with former Dobyns-Bennett teammate Keaton Wahlbon.

“I’ve been playing well lately,” Nottingham understated. “I’ve felt really good about my game lately.”

He was feeling especially good about his game Wednesday when he was 5 under through six holes. After making a par on No. 7, he holed out a 104-yard shot for an eagle at the par-4 eighth to get to 7 under.

“I was like, ‘Let’s go!’ ” he said.

Another birdie on the ninth hole sent him out in 28, 8 under par.

Nottingham shot a 59 last year at Ridgefields; he did it in a bathing suit after a day at the lake. This time, he was wearing proper golf attire and he went one stroke lower.

“I didn’t really make any long putts,” he noted. “I made a couple of 15-footers, nothing over 20 feet. I was just hitting it really good all day. I hit all the par 5s in two and hit a bunch of shots in close.”

When he birdied No. 16, two pars would allow him to break 60 again. But he wasn’t satisfied.

“Since I shot 59 last year, I wanted to beat it,” he said. “I was trying.

“My parents, whenever I go home they ask how I played. They actually came out and watched the last hole because I told them I shot 28 on the front.”

What they saw was an approach shot to within a foot from the hole and a tap-in for the 58.

Nottingham’s scorecard had 10 birdies, two eagles and six pars. The second eagle came on the par-5 11th hole.

Nottingham was in his senior season when the NCAA canceled all spring sports championships because of the coronavirus pandemic. When the governing body for college athletics decided to give spring sports athletes an extra year of eligibility, he made the decision to go back to school.

Clemson was ranked 14th nationally when the season was halted. Nottingham was the only senior on that Tigers team.

“I think it’s fair because, obviously we got to play half of our season (in the fall), but we didn’t get to play in the ACC championship or the national championship or anything like that,” Nottingham said. “I’m real excited to go back.”

Nottingham, whose 62 in the 2017 Wolfpack Open at North Carolina State stands as the all-time low round for a Clemson golfer, briefly thought about turning professional, but he said, “It made the most sense to go back for another year and keep working on my game.”

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