Oct. 4, 2002
Clemson, SC – Clemson’s number-one ranked golf team will travel to Stillwater, OK this weekend and will compete in the Ping Preview at Karsten Creek, the home of the Oklahoma State golf program. A practice round will be held Sunday with 36 holes of competition on Monday, followed by 18 holes on Tuesday.
Clemson is the defending champion in the event, that is played each year on the site of the next spring’s NCAA Tournament. The 2003 NCAA Tournament will be held May 28-31 at the Par 72 Karsten Creek Course.
This will be the 13th straight year Clemson has competed in this event. Clemson won at The Scarlet Course in Columbus, OH last year with a +10 team total of 862. Clemson followed that up with a third-place finish at the NCAA national tournament in the spring. Clemson also won the Preview in the fall of 1990 at Pebble Peach. Overall, Clemson has two first-place finishes at the Preview, two seconds and two thirds. The Tigers have been in the top five in seven of their 12 previous appearances.
A year ago D.J. Trahan rolled in a birdie putt on the last hole in the last group to give Clemson the team title. Trahan finished second individually. He will return to lead the Tigers in the Preview again this year. The reigning Jack Nicklaus Award winner has a team best 70.0 stroke average for two tournaments this year and his 71.56 average for his 36-tournament career is best in Clemson history.
The Tigers have played in two events and won both so far this year, the first time in history Clemson has won its first two tournaments of the year. The victory at the Carpet Classic was the 50th of Head Coach Larry Penley’s career. Clemson made up a 12-shot deficit in the final round to gain victory. Penley will not change his lineup for the Preview. Joining Trahan will be Gregg Jones, a second-team All-American in 2001-02, senior Ben Duncan, junior Matt Hendrix and sophomore Jack Ferguson.
Duncan is off to his best start as a Tiger. He finished 13th at the Topy Cup in Japan, then had a team best fifth-place finish at the Carpet Capital Classic in Dalton, GA. That was his first top 10 finish at Clemson and his average finish of ninth place for the first two events is best on the team.
Ferguson was Clemson’s top golfer in the season opener in Japan where he scored a 204 to finish third individually, but he was first among American collegiate players in the field. Hendrix had a 207 in Japan, including a career best 65 in the first round.
Clemson has won its first two tournaments with a team stroke average of 70.0, a record rate. All five golfers are under par for the year and all five have exactly one top 10 finish. Eighteen of the 30 individual rounds have been under par.
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