Feb. 25, 2007
Clemson, SC – Freshman Sam Saunders fired an opening round 69 on Sunday to lead Clemson to a five-under par team score and a fourth-place standing after the first round of the Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Mar, Puerto Rico. Clemson stands in fourth-place in the 18 team field in the 54-hole tournament that will continue Monday and Tuesday.
Saunders was one of three Tigers to fire under-par scores in the opening round. Junior Tanner Ervin carded a two-under-par 70 and freshman Kyle Stanley added a one-under 71. David May added a 73 and Ben Martin had an 81.
East Tennessee State, who has the top two players in the tournament with 65s by Cian McNamara and Rhys Davies, has a nine-stroke lead in the team race. The Bucs shot a 15-under par 273 on the par 72 hole course that is 6,902 yards in length. Georgia is second at nine-under, while defending NCAA champion Oklahoma State is third at six-under-par. Clemson is fourth at five-under (283), while Alabama and Duke are tied for fifth at four-under. Georgia Tech and Kent are one-under-par at 287.
Saunders had his first career round in the 60s with his opening 69. He had an even par 36 on the front nine and a three-under par 33 on the back. He had an eagle on the par five 11th hole, one of just two eagles by the entire field on that hole on Sunday. He also birdied the 434-yard par four 18th hole, the toughest hole on the course for the 90 golfers on Sunday. The stroke average on that hole was 4.41 for the day.
Tanner Ervin was Clemson’s most consistent golfer with his two-under 70. Ranked 24th in the nation in pars per round last year, Ervin had 16 pars and two birdies on Sunday. He birdied the 12th and 15th holes on the back nine.
Stanley entered the tournament with a 71.0 average for the year and he matched that round on Sunday with his one-under par score. He had an even par 36 on the front and one-under 35 on the back. He had four birdies and three bogeys on the day. David May had a 39 on the front nine, but came back with a 34 on the back nine to score his one-over 73. Ben Martin was solid on the front nine, but posted a 43 on the back, including double bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes.
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