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Clemson Fires First Round 293

Clemson Fires First Round 293

May 17, 2007

Alpharetta, GA — Sophomore David May shot a one-under par 71, his best round of the spring, to lead Clemson to a 293 team score after the first round of the NCAA East Regional Golf Tournament at the Lakeside Course at the Golf Club of Georgia. Clemson is in sixth place tie with Auburn after the first round. The 54-hole event continues Friday and Saturday.

The top 10 teams in the 27-team field will advance to the NCAA Championships May 30 to June 2 in Williamsburg, VA.

May, who stands in eighth place individually, had his first under-par round of the spring and his best score in his last 17 rounds in recording his 71 on Thursday. He got off to a great start with a birdie on the first hole and an eagle two on the par-four second hole. He made a 112-yard second shot with a 56-degree wedge for his eagle two.

“I hit it five feet by the hole and it spun back into the hole,” said May, who has now had four consecutive rounds of even par or better, his longest streak as a Clemson golfer.

May went on to birdie the seventh hole with a 40-foot down hill putt and birdied the par five 11th hole when he chipped his third shot just two feet by the cup. He then made a par on the 12th hole, a hole he had triple bogeyed in an earlier tournament on the same course this year, to reach five-under par as he played the par three 13th hole.

The 13th hole was difficult for the Clemson team on Thursday as the squad played it in four over par. May hit his tee shot on the 183-yard hole directly at the pin, but a guest of wind knocked down the shot. It landed in the water a foot from a brick wall guarding the front of the green. Then, miraculously, the ball jumped out of the water when the ball hit a rock. Cruelly, the ball hit a closely cut grass bank, rolled sideways for five yards, then fell back into the water. He made a double bogey five on the hole.

May birdied the 15th hole, then finished with three straight bogeys to score his 71. “Overall, I played well,” said May, a native of Auburn, NY who is playing in his second NCAA Regional. “I got off to a great start, especially with the eagle at the second hole and the long putt on the seventh hole was big. I wish I had finished stronger. “

“David May play was huge today,” said Head Coach Larry Penley, who has taken Clemson to the NCAA Tournament all 24 of his seasons as Clemson head coach. “He had a solid round of golf, just as he did at the ACC Tournament.

“We just have to loosen up as a team, we were too tight at times today. We have to get away from the big number on some holes, which has been a problem this year.”

Kyle Stanley, Clemson’s top player all year and the ACC Player of the Year as a freshman, made seven birdies, but he scored a one-over par 73.

It was an unusual round for Stanley, who has been consistent within his rounds all year. But, on Thursday he had seven birdies, a double bogey, six bogeys and just four pars. He started the round with three consecutive birdies and was one shot out of the individual lead. But, he hit the ball in the water on the sixth hole and made a double bogey.

He did finish strong with a birdie on the 18th hole. He went for the green on the par five in two, but hit his shot over the green into a bunker. He blasted out of the trap but the ball rolled 15 feet by the hole. He then knocked the uphill putt into the back of the cup for a birdie.

Ben Martin was back in the lineup for Clemson on Thursday after missing the ACC Tournament with a heart ailment. His problems had started in April while playing this same course back on April 10. During that US Collegiate he had to withdraw prior to the final round due to the discomfort. But, the native of Greenwood returned today and shot a solid 75, including a one-under par 35 on the back nine. “Ben Martin performance was big today,” said Penley.

“That 35 on the back nine was outstanding. We didn’t have to count a big number because of his play.”

Martin made a double bogey on the ninth hole to finish with a 40 on the front nine. But, he righted his ship and birdied the 14th and 18th holes on the back nine. He was the only Clemson golfer to play the back nine under par. Martin hit his third shot on 18 feet to within two inches and made birdie.

Tanner Ervin, a junior and the elder statesman in the Clemson lineup, had a two-over par 74 on Thursday. He has confidence playing this course as he had a two-under par 70 in the first round of the US Collegiate on the same course on April 9. Ervin had four bogeys and two birdies, including a birdie on the difficult 12th hole when he hit his second shot to within three feet of the hole.

Freshman Sam Saunders shot a 79 on Thursday, but he did birdie two of his last five holes, including the par five 18th.