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Clemson Begins Spring Season In Puerto Rico

Clemson Begins Spring Season In Puerto Rico

Feb. 21, 2000

CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson will begin its spring golf season at the Puerto Rico Classic in San Juan Feb. 27-29. The Tigers, who enter the tournament ranked number-one in the nation in the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings, will be competing against a strong field of 18 teams. The event will take place at the Rio Mar Beach Resort and Country Club.

Clemson is the defending champion thanks to a record setting performance by the squad last year. John Engler fired a seven-under par 65 to take co-medalist honors. Clemson won the event by four strokes over Georgia Tech (834). Georgia and East Tennessee State were tied for third at 858, six-under par. NC State was fifth at 860, while Texas was sixth at 870. North Carolina was seventh at 873, Duke was 10th at 888, Virginia 12th at 894, Wake Forest 13th at 898 and Florida State 15th at 903. The 18-team field included 10 of the top 25 teams in the nation.

Engler fired a 65 on the final day to tie David Christensen of East Tennessee State. Engler had rounds of 70-70-65 for his 205 score, the lowest of his career. His 65 was not a season low, as the native of Augusta, GA had a 64 in the second round of the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate. He did become the first Clemson golfer in history to have two rounds at 65 or better in the same year. It was the first victory of Engler’s career.

Clemson won the event with a 34-under team score, 830. That is a Clemson record for a 54-hole tournament score, breaking the record of 832 set earlier this fall at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate. It also broke the record for strokes under-par in a tournament. The previous best was -31 at the NCAA Championships last year.

All five Clemson golfers finished at four-under par or better for the event and all five finished in the top 12. Both of those accomplishments were Clemson firsts. Elliot Gealy, Clemson’s number-five golfer, shot a 71 on Tuesday and finished at five-under par 211. That was the best 54-hole score of his career by six shots. Lucas Glover tied Gealy for eighth place with a consistent 71-70-70 for a 211 score.

Jonathan Byrd won the team comeback award for the event. After an opening round 76, Byrd had rounds of 69 and 67 over the final two days for a 212 total, four-under par. He tied for 12th along with Clemson freshman Michael Hoey. The 12th-place finish ended Byrd’s string of top 10 finishes at five.

Four Underclassmen in Lineup in Puerto Rico

Head Coach John Engler will be playing the event for the third time, while junior Jani Saari and freshman D.J. Trahan will be making their first appearances in Puerto Rico.

Clemson at Puerto Rico Classic

This is the eighth year of the Puerto Rico Classic and Clemson has competed in each of the previous seven events. Clemson’s top finish came last year when the Tigers shot an incredible 830 to win the event by four shots. In 1996 Clemson had a second-place total of 876. The Tigers shot an 870 in 1997 when they finished third.

A Clemson golfer has won the individual medalist honors at this event two of the last three years. While Clemson did not win the team title in 1997, Jonathan Byrd took the medalist honors with a 212 score. That was Byrd’s first spring tournament as a Clemson golfer. He had rounds of 74, 68 and 70 in shooting the four-under score.

Of course, last year, Engler was co-medalist, leading Clemson to the team championship. His 205 score tied for the lowest ever by a Clemson golfer in a team tournament.

Byrd Ranked 2nd in World Amateur Rankings

Two Clemson golfers are ranked among the top 20 amateurs in the world based on ratings released in Golfweek through events of Jan 23, 2000. Lucas Glover is 18th with 95. Glover just completed a terrific fall season and has jumped ahead of Matt Kuchar in the rankings. Byrd trails only Hunder Huss of Norman, OK and the University of Oklahoma. Edward Loar is ranked third, while David Edger, Charles Howell and Aron Baddeley (Australia) are all tied for fourth.

Glover Had Sensational Fall of 1999

Lucas Glover had the greatest fall season in Clemson history when he had a 70.20 scoring average for 15 rounds in five tournaments this past fall. Glover was 24-under-par for the five tournaments, the best combined score vs. par in a fall season in the sports history. Glover had 10 under par rounds and two more at par.

The native of Greenville who is a two-time defending South Carolina Amateur Champion, had four straight top six finishes to end the fall, including a second-place at the Golf World at Palmetto Dunes. He was an incredible 11-under-par for the 54 holes, and the 205 score tied a Clemson record for lowest 54-hole score in a team event. He was under par for his last seven rounds and shot par of better in each of his last 12 rounds of the fall.

The fantastic fall elevated Glover to a number-six national ranking in the Sagarin individual rankings entering the spring season. He is also now 18th on the world wide US Amateur list according to Golfweek.

Current Tigers Rank one-two-three

Current Clemson golfers John Engler, Lucas Glover and Jonathan Byrd rank 1-2-3 in Clemson history in career stroke average. The latest figures that include the fall season show Engler ranked first with a 72.29 average. He posted a 71.39 figure for the fall of 1999 in his six tournaments and 18 rounds.

Glover made the biggest jump, from fourth to second, on the career list. His 70.20 average for 15 rounds had a lot to do with that. Glover now has a 72.33 stroke average for his 86 career rounds. Jonathan Byrd, the only senior on the Clemson team in 2000, hasa 72.66 average after firing a 71.93 average in the fall. Fourth on the list is Chris Patton, who hada 72.71 average between 1986-90.

Clemson Career Stroke Average Leaders (Minimum 45 rounds Played)

Rk Name Years Rds Stks Avg
1. John Engler 1997-00 92 6,651 72.29
2. Lucas Glover 1997-00 86 6,220 72.33
3. Jonathan Byrd 1996-00 133 9,664 72.66
4. Chris Patton 1986-90 139 10,106 72.71
5. Kevin Johnson 1985-89 147 10,711 72.86
6. Charles Warren 1994-98 144 10,510 72.99
7. Nicky Goetze 1989-93 159 11,638 73.19

Clemson Number-one in MasterCard Poll

Clemson is ranked number-one in the final fall Mastercard poll and second behind ACC rival Georgia Tech in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin poll. Clemson concluded a strong fall schedule with a first at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate and second place finishes at the Ping/Golfweek Preview and the Carpet Capital Classic. Clemson was fourth at the Palmetto Dunes at the final event of the fall last November.

Clemson has three of the top 22 golfers in the country according to the latest Mastercard Collegiate rankings. John Engler is 22nd. Glover is sixth in the Golfweek/Sagarin poll, while Byrd is23rd.

Mastercard Poll (Dec. 1, 1999)

1. Clemson, 2. Georgia, 3. Georgia Tech, 4. Northwestern, 5. Oklahoma State, 6. Arizona State, 7. Houston, 8. BYU, 9. UNLV, 10. Kent, 11. Stanford, 12, South Carolina, 13. Augusta State, 14. North Florida, 15. Washington, 16. Kansas, 17. Duke, 18. Fresno State, 19. UCLA, 20. Oklahoma

Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings (Feb. 15, 2000)

1. Georgia Tech, 2. Clemson, 3. Oklahoma State, 4. Northwestern, 5. Georgia, 6. BYU, 7. Houston, 8. Arizona State, 9. UNLV, 10. South Carolina, 11. Kent, 12. Stanford, 13. Duke, 14. Washington, 15. New Mexico, 16. Southern Cal, 17. Arizona, 18. Virginia, 19. North Florida, 20. Augusta State

Clemson’s Byrd Named to Walker Cup Team

Clemson All-America golfer Jonathan Byrd named to the United States Walker Cup team for 1999. He posted a 1-3 record for the United States team during the competition that took place at Nairn Golf Club in Nairn, Scotland. Byrd was the third Clemson golfer in history to compete in the Walker Cup. The others are Kevin Johnson (1990) and Richard Coughlan, who played on the Great Britain/Ireland team in 1997.

The selection was part of an active off-college season for Byrd. He was on Northeast Amateur and the Carolinas Amateur and finished runnerup at the Porter Cup. He was second at the South Carolina Amateur, reached the match play portion of the US Amateur and led the United States to victory in the Palmer Cup.

Byrd Leads United States to Victory

Clemson All-American Jonathan Byrd (Columbia, SC) won all four matches he was involved in, leading the United States to a 17.5 to 6.5 victory over the team from Great Britain/Ireland at the third annual Palmer Cup. The event, played The Honor’s Course near Chattanooga in June, matched collegiate players from the United States vs. collegiate players from Great Britain and Ireland.

Byrd, who was named first-team All-American and first-team Academic All-American, teamed with Ben Curtis to defeat Max Harris and Kyron Sullivan, 3 and 2 in best ball action on Saturday morning. In the afternoon, during alternate shot competition, Byrd teamed with Michael Morrison, an All-American at Georgia, in defeating Oliver Lindsay and Andrew White, by the same 3 and 2 score.

On Sunday, Byrd won both of his singles matches. The rising Clemson senior soundly defeated Lindsay, 6 and 4 in the morning, then defeated his Clemson teammate, Michael Hoey, 3 and 1.

Clemson had three of its 1999 team golfers in this prestigious event. Rising junior John Engler, also a first-team All-American, had a record of 1-3 in his matches. Engler, a native of Augusta, GA, joined Georgia Tech All-American Bryce Molder in defeating Hoey and Johnny Foster of Great Britain, 4 and 3. In the afternoon, Engler and Ben Curtis lost to Johnny Foster and Kyron Sullivan 1-up. It was the only match of the day that went to the 18th hole. On Sunday in singles play, Engler lost to Andrew White, 2-up, then dropped a 3 & 2 decision to NCAA champion Luke Donald (Northwestern), 3&2.

Freshman Michael Hoey was 0-4 on the weekend, but played well in his two singles matches to a pair of first-team All-Americans on Sunday. The native of Ireland lost to Byrd, 3 &1, then dropped a close 2&1 decision to Molder.

Clemson Players Dominate South Carolina Amateur

Clemson golfers dominated the field at the 68th South Carolina Amateur last summer. The event was played at the Country Club of Charleston and was won by current Clemson junior Lucas Glover, who shot a 269 total for the four days. His 15 under par total set a new tournament record for an under-par tournament score, breaking his old record, which he had set in 1998. He became the first back to back champion of the event since Larry Penley in 1987-88. Glover also owns the South Carolina Golf Association junior record.

Glover held off a charge from Clemson teammate Jonathan Byrd. The native of Columbia shot 270 to finish one shot back in second place. Current Clemson freshmen Jani Saari, a starter on Clemson’s 1999 NCAA Tournament team that ranked eighth in the nation, finished at 290, good enough for 20th. D.J. Trahan and Tripp James also finished in the top 35.

Tigers in Final Individual Rankings

Three of Clemson players ranked in the top 20 of the Mastercard and Sagarin individual rankings for the 1998-99 academic year. All three return for this year. John Engler made the top 10 in Mastercard and Sagarin and was 14th in Golfstat. Jani Saari, who finished 77th in Sagarin, and Michael Hoey, 53rd in Mastercard, were also top 100 college players in 1998-99.

Clemson in Final 1998-99 College Golf Rankings

Name Mastercard Sagarin Golfstat
Jonathan Byrd 6th (324.833) 7th (69.61) 7th (+1.352)
John Engler 9th (298.405) 10th (69.84) 14th (+1.677)
Lucas Glover 14th (260.698) 18th (70.37) 28th (+2.102)
Jani Saari 77th (71.67)
Michael Hoey 53rd (118.195)

Byrd Named Academic All-American

Clemson golfer Jonathan Byrd chosen to the 1999 Academic All-America team according to the Golf Coaches Association of America and the College Sports Information Directors of America. Byrd was named first-team All-American for his performance on the course in June. Byrd was the only golfer in the nation in 1999 to earn first-team Academic honors and first-team All-America honors on the course.

The native of Columbia is the first Clemson golfer to earn All-America honors on the course and in the classroom in the same year since 1990 when Oswald Drawdy was named to both teams. Byrd is just the second golfer in school history to make both teams in the same year, but the first to be a first-team selection in both.

The junior has a 3.7 grade point average in marketing. He was one of nine Clemson golfers to earn selection to the Clemson academic honor roll for the spring semester of 1999. Larry Penley’s team had a 3.2 team GPA for the spring, highest semester average on record.

Byrd is the seventh athlete in Clemson history, regardless of sport, to be chosen All-American on the field and in the classroom in the same year, the first to do it in nearly a decade.