Oct. 23, 2007
Windermere, FL-Clemson closed its fall golf season in strong fashion on Tuesday with a second-place finish at the Isleworth-UCF Collegiate in Windermere, FL. Clemson finished second out of 18 teams in the field that included six of the top 10 teams and 10 of the top 20 teams in the latest Golf World Coaches national rankings.
Led by Tanner Ervin’s final round 69, the Tigers shot a three-under par 285 on the final day to pass three teams and finish in second place behind Georgia. The Bulldogs shot a 275 for the second straight day to finish with a 23-under-par 841 score. The Tigers were second at 862, one stroke better than Southern California. Oklahoma State, the 2006 NCAA Champion, was fourth at 866, followed by Wake Forest at 868 and Georgia Tech at 869. Defending NCAA Champion Stanford was ninth at 879.
“We did a great job on the back side on the every round,” said Head Coach Larry Penley. They kept their head every day and didn’t get frustrated. To the team’s credit, they shook it off and waited for something good.” Clemson was 19 over par on the front nine for the 54-hole event, but 21 under par on the back side. Clemson’s five players made a combined 14 birdies on the back nine on Tuesday.
“Tanner scored his ball today. He didn’t have great ball striking week, but his scoring was phenomenal. He got it up and down when he had to and made some key putts.
“Sam Saunders had three birdies in a row on the back side and that was huge. Our team played 15, 16 and 17 holes very well, especially the 15th (par three). It was playing 225 yards and we made three birdies. We could have made five. That stretch from 15-17 was the key for us today.
“This finish gives us a lot of momentum and confidence entering the spring season.”
As it had through the entire tournament, Clemson made a strong charge on the back nine. Clemson was five over par and in sixth place entering the back nine on Tuesday, but played the final nine holes at eight under as a team.
Ervin had five birdies and two bogeys in the final round. That included a bogey on the 18th hole, the most difficult hole on the course for the entire field in the tournament. But, he had birdies on 15 and 17 coming in to record Clemson’s top round by three shots on Tuesday. He finished the tournament with a 218 score, good enough for 23rd place. He started Tuesday’s final round in 50th position, so his three-under par round moved him up 27 places on the final day.
Kyle Stanley was Clemson’s top golfer for the tournament with a three-under par 213 score. The Clemson sophomore had his second straight even par round with a 72. For the second straight day, Stanley made a great comeback to get to even par. He was four over par through seven holes after registering a double bogey seven on the par five seventh hole. But, he recorded birdies on 13, 15 and 16 coming in to get to even par and his second straight seventh place finish.
Classmate Sam Saunders finished his most consistent tournament as a Clemson golfer with a one-under par 71 on Tuesday. Saunders shot 214 for the three rounds and finished in a tie for 10th place. He had just one par on the front nine when he had five bogeys and three birdies, but he closed strong with birdies on 15, 16 and 17 before getting a difficult par on the final hole. It was quite a tournament for Saunders who was playing the Isleworth Country Club course that had been designed by his grandfather, golfing legend Arnold Palmer. Palmer was in attendance to follow his grandson on Tuesday.
Luke Hopkins and Ben Martin both had final rounds of 73 on Tuesday. Hopkins played the last eight holes at three under par, while Martin started three over through three holes, then birdied 5, 6 and 8 to get back to even par. Martin finished in 40th place overall with a 222 score, while Hopkins was 58th with a 225 total.
Clemson will next be in action in Rio Mar, Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Classic, February 29 to March 2 ,2008.
Clemson at Isleworth-UCF Collegiate October 21-23, 2007
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