May 18, 2007
Alpharetta, GA — Freshman Kyle Stanley birdied the final two holes to finish with a one-under par 71 and lead Clemson to a 299 team total in the second round of the NCAA East Regional at the Lakeside Course at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta. It was the 14th under-par round of the year for Stanley, breaking D.J. Trahan’s Clemson freshman record of 13 set in 2000.
Clemson stands in a tie for ninth place with a 16 over par 592 team score after 36 holes. Clemson is tied with ACC foe Florida State, who Clemson has not lost to in a common tournament over the last two years (6-0). The top 10 teams from the 27-team East Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships May 30 to June 2 at the Golden Horseshoe in Williamburg, VA.
It will be quite a scramble for the last spots in the top 10 on Saturday.
Clemson is one of five teams between +15 and +17, teams that hold places eight through 12. North Carolina (+15), Florida State (+16), Clemson (+16), Central Florida (+17) and Georgia State (+17) all will be competing for a spot inside the top 10.
This is the third straight year Clemson has been in a tenuous position entering the final day of the regional. Last year in Cleveland, OH, Clemson was tied for eighth entering the last day and then finished in eighth place with 291 score on the final day to make the cut by three shots. Two years ago, Clemson was in 12th place entering the final round at Nashville, TN. Clemson shot an even par 280 in the final round, but stumbled on the last few holes and finished in 11th place, failing to make the cut by two shots.
Clemson enters the final round Saturday in a tie for ninth place.
Clemson has made the cut for the national tournament every year it has been in 10th place or better entering the final round. “It is there for us to take, but we will have to take it ourselves, no one is going to give us a spot,” said Larry Penley after his team’s second round. “We have to play with confidence on Saturday if we are going to advance to the finals. If we don’t we will be reading about the NCAA championship in the newspaper.”
Clemson’s 299 team score on Friday was six shots worse than its performance in the first round. It was a surprising development because Clemson had an early (7:00 AM) tee time on Friday when the winds were calm. Weather conditions were perfect for scoring throughout the morning, but the Tigers struggled with the putter.
“We did not putt well at all today,” said Penley, who has led Clemson to the NCAA Championship tournament 22 of his previous 23 years as Clemson’s head coach. “We just didn’t get up and down when we had the opportunity, or we had three-putt greens that killed momentum. Our ball striking has really been solid. We haven’t been in much trouble off the tee, which can happen on this course.”
Stanley, who has been Clemson’s top golfer all year, had a more consistent round on Friday than his 18 holes on Thursday when he had seven birdies, a double bogey and six bogeys. Stanley had four birdies and three bogeys, all on par three holes, to go with 11 pars. He was one under through the 16th hole, his seventh hole of the day, then made a bogey on the par three 17th.
The first-year freshman from Gig Harbor, WA then birdied the par five first hole, his 10th hole of the day. Stanley hit a three-iron from 235 yards to within four feet of the pin on his second shot. The shot nearly went in for a double eagle. But, he missed the sharp breaking eagle putt and had to settle for a birdie. Stanley then picked up bogeys on the par three third hole, when he three putted from 65 feet, and the par three sixth hole when he failed to get up and down from a green side grass waste area.
Stanley then finished strong with birdies on the eighth and ninth holes, his 17th and 18th holes of the day. On 17 he hit his approach to within a foot of the pin. On 18, a par five, he reached the green with his second shot, a 208-yard iron shot off pine straw from the left rough. He then two-putted for the birdie. Again his putt for birdie was from a foot.
“Kyle kept us in the game today with his 71. We just need a few others to do the same on Saturday.” Stanley is at even par 144 for the two rounds to rank in the top 10 among individuals entering the final round.
Clemson’s second best golfer on Friday was Ben Martin, like Stanley a first-team All-ACC golfer as a freshman this season. Martin, who missed the ACC Tournament with a heart condition, had a two-over par 74 on Friday. The native of Greenwood scored a one-under par 35 on the front nine, his second nine of the day. It was the second straight day that he has had an under-par nine on his final nine holes. Martin made birdies on the first, third and ninth holes to finish strong. He had a 75 in the first round, so he has a 149 total for the 36 holes.
David May is Clemson’s second best golfer for the first two rounds combined with 148 score. The sophomore from Auburn, NY had a 77 on Friday after carding a team best 71 in the first round. May made a double bogey on the 17th hole, his eighth hole of the day, when he hit his ball in the hazard by the green. He did finish strong with a birdie on the ninth hole, his final hole of the day. May saw his streak of four consecutive rounds of par or better come to an end.
Tanner Ervin, who had a first round 74, fired a 77 on Friday. He got off to a great start with a birdie on the difficult par three 13th and a chip-in for birdie on the par four 14th. But, Ervin made seven bogeys over his last 11 holes, including a three-putt from inside 10 feet on the par four fourth hole.
Freshman Sam Saunders was just one over par after making a birdie on the first hole, his 10th hole of the day. But, the freshman played the final eight holes in six over par and finished with his second consecutive 79.
Clemson will tee off in the second wave of teams on Saturday. Sam Saunders will be Clemson’s first competitor with a tee time that should be somewhere For Clemson’s exact tee times on Saturday, go to golfstat.com. It will also provide hole-by-hole results on Friday.
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