March 30, 2008
Greenville, SC — Ben Martin and Sam Saunders fired one-over-par rounds of 73 in brutal playing conditions to lead Clemson to a second-place finish at the 24-team Furman Invitational on Sunday. The Tigers finished with a 13 over par team score of 877 for the three rounds and 54 holes, three shots more than champion UT Chattanooga. South Carolina finished third with an 882 score, while Western Carolina and Vanderbilt tied for fourth at 888.
It was Clemson’s first appearance in the event in 11 years at the Furman University Course in Greenville, SC. Sunday’s final round was played in windy, cold conditions as the temperature was 45 degrees with a win chill fact of 35.
Martin and Saunders led Clemson with rounds of 73 on Sunday, while Luke Hopkins and Phillip Mollica had rounds of 74, giving Clemson a team score of 294. Kyle Stanley, who was in first place entering the final round, struggled on Sunday and shot a 78 and his score did not count towards Clemson’s team score. He still finished fifth in the individual race with a score of 218 after he had shot rounds of 71-69 to start the event.
Jonathan Hodge of UT Chattanooga was the individual champion with a 213 score.
Clemson’s top player at the event was actually senior Zack Siefert. The native of Simpsonville played as an individual, so his score could not count towards Clemson’s team score. He had rounds of 71-73-73 for a 217 total, good enough for fourth place. It was the top 54-hole score and best finish of his Clemson career. He had one eagle in each of the three rounds, including an eagle three on the par five 15th hole on Sunday.
Saunders also finished in the top 10 with his score of 219. He was seventh overall, his fourth career top 10 and the best finish of his career. Saunders had an outstanding start with a birdie on the fifth hole, one of the most difficult holes on the course. He had an eagle on the par five 15th hole coming in to bring the Tigers within two shots of Chattanooga in the team race, but Clemson could get no closer.
Martin started out with three birdies in the first six holes, but shot a 40 on the back side to finish with a 73. Still it was an outstanding round of golf for the sophomore who was first-team All-ACC last year as a freshman. He finished in 26th place with a 224 total for the three rounds.
Mollica had another solid tournament with a 222 total, good enough for 16th place in the field of 132 players who started the event. Mollica had rounds of 72-76-74 for his 54 holes of work. He had three birdies and five bogeys on Sunday. He had a birdie on the 15th hole coming in to get back to the top 20 in the individual race.
Luke Hopkins had a gutty performance on Sunday. He had rounds of 75-77 for his first two days, but had a 74 on Sunday in the difficult conditions. He was four over par for his first 11 holes on Sunday, then had birdies on 15 and 18 coming in to get to two over par.
Stanley struggled throughout the day with three bogeys on each nine. It was just the fourth round in 24 this year that he failed to shoot 75 or better. Still, he recorded a fifth place finish for the tournament, his second straight top five and his 10th career top 10 finish at Clemson.
Clemson will be in action again this weekend at the Augusta State Collegiate at Champions Retreat in Augusta, GA. That will be Clemson’s final event before the ACC Tournament, which will be April 18-20 at The Old North State Club in New London, NC.
Clemson Summary at Furman Invitational March 28-30, 2008, Furman University Course, Greenville, SC Par 72, 6800 yards
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