May 15, 2008
Clemson, SC — Gig Harbor, Washington native Kyle Stanley fired an even par 72 to lead Clemson to a 295 team score and a seventh place standing after the first round of the NCAA West Regional at the Gold Mountain Course in Bremerton, WA. Clemson is in seventh place in the 27-team field and must finish in the top 10 of the three-round event to reach the NCAA Championships at Purdue University May 28-31.
Clemson’s 295 team score is just six shots behind first place Oregon, who posted a 289 score earlier in the day. But, the Tigers are also just three shots ahead of the 10th place cutline in the tightly contested event. Clemson’s 295 score tied for the best (with North Carolina) among the 15 schools not based in the western time zone.
Clemson is making its 27th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the 25th year in a row under head coach Larry Penley. Penley has taken the Tigers to the NCAA championship round in 22 of his 24 previous seasons.
Stanley, who lives just 20 minutes from the Gold Mountain Course, birdied three of his last five holes to lead the Tigers. The All-American sophomore pared his first five holes, then made a double bogey on the 15th hole, his sixth hole of the day. He followed that with a bogey on the 16th hole to go to three over par.
But, Stanley made a birdie on the 18th hole, his ninth of the day, to get his round back on track. He then birdied the fifth, sixth and eighth holes on the front side before finishing with a par and the top round of the day by a Clemson golfer. He chipped in for birdie on the difficult par three eighth hole.
Classmate Sam Saunders set the pace for the Tigers in the early stages of the round with three birdies within his first five holes. He made a double bogey six on the 17th hole, but settled down to play one over par golf the rest of the way. His only blemish was a bogey six on the par five sixth hole. He might have had the best ball striking day among the Tiger golfers as he hit 15 of the 18 greens in regulation.
Ben Martin was the next best Clemson golfer on Thursday with a 74. He struggled early with a pair of bogeys by his fourth hole. But, he played the last 14 holes at even par. A birdie on the 18th hole, his ninth hole of the day was a highlight.
Junior Phillip Mollica had the wildest round of the day among Clemson golfers. The native of Anderson, SC had a team best six birdies, but he also had two double bogeys, both on the front nine, he second nine of the day. He had just four pars all day. The highlight of his round took place on the front nine when he had birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes.
Junior David May had a four over par 76 to round out the Clemson scores.
The native of Auburn, NY had five bogeys and one birdie, which came on the par five sixth hole.
Clemson will be in the morning tee time slot on Friday, which should have calmer conditions.
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