Feb. 27, 2007
Clemson, SC – Sam Saunders, Tanner Ervin and Kyle Stanley all finished in the top 10 individually to lead Clemson to a tie for second place at the Puerto Rico Classic at Rio Mar, Puerto Rico. The Tigers nearly overcame an eight-shot deficit with four holes left against team champion Georgia.
Clemson had a team score of 284 on Tuesday, the best team round among the 18 teams competing at the par 72, 6,902-yard Westin Rio Mar Country Club course. Clemson trailed first-place Georgia by 11 shots entering the final round. Had Clemson won the event it would have been the greatest final round comeback in school history.
The Bulldogs won the event with an 850 score, one better than the total for Clemson and Stanford. Alabama, ranked number-one in the nation in the Sagarin computer poll entering the tournament, was fourth at 855, while East Tennessee State was fifth at 856. Defending NCAA champion Oklahoma State was sixth at 862, followed by Minnesota at 864. Georgia Tech was eighth at 865 while Florida, ranked number-one in the Golf World Coaches Poll, was ninth at 867.
“I am pleased with the way we played on the last day,” said Clemson Head Coach Larry Penley. “To have the low round on the final day against this field is an accomplishment. We were just a shot from winning it. It was just a little too much to overcome in the last day. We played well overall in windy conditions. We were patient and consistent throughout the tournament.” Clemson was the only team in the field to score an under par team round all three rounds.
Clemson’s second place finish was its second runner-up finish of the year, as it also finished second at the Carpet Classic in the first tournament of the year. It was Clemson’s best finish at the Puerto Rico Classic since 2004 when the Tigers also finished second, and the 851 final team score was Clemson’s best at the Puerto Rico Classic since the team shot 830 in winning the 1999 Puerto Rico Classic.
Junior Tanner Ervin and freshman Kyle Stanley both had final round 69s on Tuesday to lead the Tigers performance. Ervin finished tied for eighth overall with a 212 score, a total that tied his career low for a 54-hole event. He got the Tigers off on the right foot with four consecutive birdies at one point over his first nine holes of the day. Stanley finished 10th at 213. The freshman from Gig Harbor, WA now has 15 consecutive rounds at 75 or better.
Sam Saunders, Stanley’s classmate, had a 73 on Tuesday, including a birdie on his final hole that allowed Clemson to tie for second as a team. He had a 212 total for the 54 holes to record his second top 10 of the year (8th).
Ben Martin had a 73 on Tuesday, giving him a 142 total for his last two days. He was tied for 50th overall with a 223 score. David May had a 76 on Tuesday and finished 39th overall with a 221 score.
Clemson will next be in action March 9-11 when it competes in the Las Vegas Invitational.
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