Feb. 27, 2008
Clemson, SC — Clemson will take a veteran team to Puerto Rico to open its spring season in the Puerto Rico Classic on Friday. Head Coach Larry Penley will bring two juniors and three sophomores to the 15-team event that includes six of the top 15 teams in the nation. All five Clemson players in the tournament have played in the event previously in their careers.
Clemson is ranked 13th in the nation in latest Golf World Coaches poll and will be joined by top 15 teams from Georgia (1), Alabama (3), Oklahoma State (5), Georgia Tech (8) and Duke (12). The field also includes teams from East Tennessee State, Virginia Tech, Kent State, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, NC State, Northwestern and Purdue.
It is the first of six regular season spring events for Clemson, who is looking to be chosen for the NCAA Tournament for the 27th consecutive years. Each of the last 25 have come under the watch of current head coach Larry Penley.
Clemson is making its 16th appearance at the Puerto Rico Classic, an event that will be held at the Rio Mar County Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The course is 6,902 yards in length and plays to a par 72. The Tigers won the tournament in 1999 and have finished second on five other occasions. Clemson has finished in the top four 10 of its 15 previous trips. Clemson finished second last year by one shot to Georgia.
Sam Saunders and Kyle Stanley are Clemson’s top two golfers in terms of season stroke average so far this year. Saunders had a 72.55 average in the fall when he played in three of the four events. He had a season best 10th place finish at the Isleworth Collegiate in the last event of the fall when he shot a 214 score. Stanley had a 72.78 stroke average in the fall, but had a 70.87 last year when he earned first-team All-America honors as a freshman. Both Saunders and Stanley finished in the top 10 at the Puerto Rico Classic last year.
Ben Martin is a third sophomore who will be in the Clemson lineup. He played in all four tournaments in the fall and had a 73.50 stroke average. He was Clemson’s top golfer at the Topy Cup in Japan, the only other event the Tigers will play outside the United States this year.
David May and Phillip Mollica are juniors who will be in the Clemson lineup. May is actually making his third trip to Puerto Rico with the Tiger golfers and has shot seven over par for his six previous rounds. Mollica played in Puerto Rico as a freshman in 2006 and shot a 223 score. Mollica won the North-South Amateur at Pinehurst #2 last summer.
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