May 18, 2001
Williamsburg, VA- Freshman Gregg Jones fired a four-under-par 68, the best round of his young college career, leading Clemson to an 8th-place standing heading into the final round of the NCAA East Regional. Jones stands in seventh place in the individual race.
The 54-hole event is being held on the 10-year-old Green Course at the Golden Horseshoe Country Club in Williamsburg, VA. The top 10 teams in the 27-team field will qualify for the NCAA national tournament to be held at the Duke University Course in Durham, NC May 30 to June 2.
Clemson is just three strokes ahead of the cutline heading into the final round on Saturday and obviously must play a strong round on Saturday to extend its streak of 20 consecutive years appearing in the national portion of the NCAA Tournament. Only Oklahoma State’s streak of 54 consecutive years in the national NCAA Tournament is longer.
Clemson stands at seven-under par as a team after team rounds of 285 and 284. It gives Clemson five consecutive team rounds under par over two tournaments, but the Tigers have not kept pace with East Tennessee State (-24) and NC State (-21). The Pack shot a 14-under-par team score on Friday, best in the field.
Florida stands in third place at 16-under-par, while Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech are tied for fourth at 12-under. Clemson is just two shots in back of top ranked Georgia, who is nine-under after a second round team score of 289. UAB is tied with Georgia, while Clemson is tied with ACC rival Duke at seven-under. Georgia Southern had a five-under-par team round on Friday and is 10th at six-under. Charleston Southern is currently 11th, two shots off the cutline at four-under par. Mississippi is 12th at even par and Auburn is 13th at five-over-par.
Jones certainly did his part on Friday as the rookie from Florence, SC had five birdies and one bogey in shooting nine hole scores of 33 and 35. His previous low round as a Tiger was 69, which he set on three different occasions this year. He had a stretch of four birdies within five holes while playing the 8th through the 12th holes. He bogied the 14th hole, then settled down to par the last four. Individually, Jones stands in seventh place at five-under par, five shots behind the leader, Camillo Villegas of Florida, who stands at 134 after rounds of 64 and 70.
John Engler rallied with birdies on 13 and 14 and shot a 70 to go with his opening round 72. The consistent Tiger who is Clemson’s career stroke average leader, had four birdies and two bogeys for Friday’s round and is 29th individually heading into the final day.
Greenville’s Jani Saari had another consistent day, as he shot an even par 72. His 143 score through two days is tied for 41st. Saari has now played 16 career NCAA Tournament rounds and his score has counted towards Clemson’s team score 14 times. Saari had one birdie and eight pars over his last nine holes.
Clemson All-Americans Lucas Glover and D.J. Trahan struggled on Friday. Trahan had a 74, while Glover’s score of 75 did not count towards Clemson’s team total of 284.
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