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Clemson Golf Heritage

Clemson Golf Heritage

Academic Excellence

  • Only 18 student-athletes in Clemson athletics history have earned All-America honors on the field and in the classroom in the same year.   Two of the 18 student-athletes who have accomplished this have been golfers.  Jonathan Byrd is one of three Clemson student-athletes to accomplish this twice (1998-99 and 1999-00) and D.J. Trahan did it in 2001-02.  Trahan actually was named the National Player of the Year in 2002 when he was named a third-team Academic All-American by CoSIDA, the only National Player of the Year to also be an academic All-American in the same year.
  • Two Clemson golfers have been named Academic All-American on three occasions.  Jason Griffith accomplished this in 1986-88 and Oswald Drawdy was a three-time selection from 1988-90.
  • The Clemson golf team has had a team GPA of 3.0 or better each of the last five semesters.   That includes the spring of 2013 when all nine players on the roster had at least a 3.0, a first for the program.
  • Six times in the last 14 years the team has posted a team GPA of 3.0 or better for the spring semester, then ranked in the top 16 in the nation at the NCAA Tournament.
  • Ben Martin, a senior in 2010,   was a three-time selection to the All-ACC academic team and a two-time selection as an Academic Scholar by the Golf Coaches Association.  He graduated in December of his final year at Clemson and is now on the PGA Tour.
  • Crawford Reeves, a senior in 2012-13, was named to the All-ACC Academic team four straight years, also a first in Clemson golf history.

Award Winners

  • Charles Warren became Clemson’s first NCAA Champion in 1997 when he captured the championship at Conway Farms Country Club outside Chicago.   He defeated Brad Elder of Texas in a playoff and overcame a three-shot deficit to Jason Gore of Pepperdine during the final round.  Warren won the NCAA Championship as a junior, then won the Dave Williams Award as the top senior golfer in the nation in 1998.
  • D.J. Trahan won the Ben Hogan Award and the Jack Nicklaus Award in 2002 as a junior.  During that 2002 season, Trahan won three tournaments, including the NCAA East Regional Championship.    He posted a 70.33 stroke average, still among the top 10 single season stroke averages in NCAA history.
  • Kyle Stanley won the Ben Hogan Award in 2009 as a junior.   He finished second at the NCAA Tournament two of his three years at Clemson.
  • Clemson has had 53 All-America selections over the years, including at least one All-American in nine consecutive seasons between 1996-04.  The list includes 14 first-team All-Americans, 11 second-team selections, seven third-team selections and 21 honorable mention selections.  Kyle Stanley was a first-team selection as a freshman in 2007, the only freshman in Clemson history to be named a first-team All-American.  He was named first-team again in 2009 when he finished second at the NCAA Tournament.
  • Six players (Chris Patton, Charles Warren, John Engler, Lucas Glover, D.J. Trahan and Kyle Stanley) have been named first-team All-American twice.

Amateur Championships

  • Clemson players have had a strong heritage when it comes to success in national amateur events.  The most noteworthy championship took place in 1989 when then Clemson rising senior Chris Patton won the US Amateur title at Merion Country Club in Ardmore, PA.  He then went on to be the low amateur at the 1990 Master’s finishing in 39th place.
  • Three other Clemson golfers finished as runner up at the US Amateur, Parker Moore in 1976, Danny Ellis in 1993, and Ben Martin in 2009. Michael Hoey, who played at Clemson in 1998-99, won the British Amateur in 2001.
  • Three Tigers have won the United States Public Links Championship and every time they were still Clemson golfers at the time of their triumph.   Kevin Johnson won the US Public Links in 1986 and D.J. Trahan won the title in 2000, his freshman season at Clemson.   Corbin Mills won the US Public Links in 2011 and played in the 2012 Masters.   Mills also won the 2011 Players Amateur.
  • The Sunnehanna Amateur is one of the top amateur tournaments each summer.   A Clemson golfer won the event four consecutive years between 2001-04, including Lucas Glover, who was the 2001 champion and is now on the PGA Tour.
  • In the summer of 2008, Phillip Mollica won his second Monroe Amateur and is he only person to win the event twice.  Kyle Stanley won the Southern Amateur for the second time and played in the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour in 2009.  Four Clemson golfers advanced to the United States Amateur in 2008, including three who made it to match play.

Coaching Excellence

  • Clemson Head Coach Larry Penley is ranked fourth in NCAA golf history in total tournament victories with 63.  He is second among active coaches, first among active ACC coaches.  He is second in ACC history behind former Wake Forest coach Jesse Haddock who won 83.
  • Penley is one of the few active coaches to be inducted into the College Golf Hall of Fame.  At the age of 44 in 2003 he was inducted, the only coach in any sport in Clemson history to be inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame while still the Clemson coach.
  • Penley was named the National Coach-of-the-Year by the College Golf Coaches Association and GolfWeek in 2003, the year he led the Clemson program to the NCAA Championship.   He is a six-time ACC Coach-of-the-Year, one of just two coaches in the league’s history to win that award six times.
  • Penley has been the head coach at Clemson for 30 years.  In that time he has led the program to seven NCAA Regional titles, more than any other coach.  He has taken Clemson to the NCAA Tournament all 30 years and has finished in the top 20, 21 times, more than any coach in Clemson history regardless of sport.
  • Prior to Penley, Clemson had great leadership under Bobby Robinson, who led the program from 1975-83.  It was Robinson who took Clemson to its first NCAA Tournament in 1980, its first ACC Championship in 1982 and its first NCAA top 5 finish in 1983.   The Clemson practice facility is named in his honor.
Head Coach All-Time Tournament Victories with One School
Rank Name School Years Wins
1. Jim Brown Ohio State 1973-08 157
2. Jesse Haddock Wake Forest 1962-89 83
3. Buddy Alexander Florida 1988-Present 75
4. Larry Penley Clemson 1983-Present 63
5. Rick LaRose Arizona 1978-Present 61
6. E.K. Patty Middle Tennessee 1946-81 55
  Devin Brouse North Carolina 1978-98 55
8. Richard Sykes NC State 1972-Present 50
9. Dick Copas Georgia 1971-96 44

Conference Championship Tradition

  • Clemson has won the ACC Championship nine times (including a co-championship in 1990).  Clemson won the title in 1982, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2004.  Clemson has finished in the top four of the event for 12 of the last 15   years.
  • Clemson has had the individual ACC Champion seven times, including four of the last 15 seasons.  Charles Warren won the tournament in 1997 and 1998, Clemson’s only two-time winner.   He won the NCAA Championships in 1997 as well and one of only two ACC golfers to win the ACC Championship and the NCAA Championship in the same year.
  • David May was co-medalist of the ACC Tournament in 2009 as he shot a 206 to tie for honors with Matt Hill of NC State.
  • Clemson has had 34 different players named first-team All-ACC a total of 70 times.  Clemson had at least two different All-ACC golfers every year from 1997-07.  D.J. Trahan and Jonathan Byrd are the only two Tigers who have been named first-team All-ACC four consecutive years.  They are two of the 16 athletes in Clemson history who have been honored four times.

International Competition

  • Clemson has been prominent in the history of the Walker Cup.  Between 1997 and 2003, Clemson had at least one representative at each Walker Cup, including 2001 when Lucas Glover and D.J. Trahan were members of the United States team and Michael Hoey was on the Great Britain team.  Six players with ties to Clemson have participated in the Walker Cup since 1997.
  • The Palmer Cup is another amateur competition held each year.  Between 1997-2004, Clemson had 13 players on United States or Great Britain squads.   That includes John Engler who is one of the few three-time selections to the United States team.  D.J. Trahan was a two-time selection to the United States squad and was the team captain in 2002.   Tiger Head Coach Larry Penley served as the head coach of the United States team in 2004.
  • Kyle Stanley was a member of the United States Walker Cup championship team in 2007.
  • In terms of professional international play, Lucas Glover was a member of the winning United States President’s Cup teams in 2007 and 2009.

NCAA Tournament Excellence

  • Clemson has been to the NCAA Tournament 32 years overall, including an active streak of 31 consecutive years.  The last time Clemson was not in the NCAA Tournament was the spring of 1981.  That is the longest streak in any sport in Clemson history. Clemson had a streak of reaching the national portion of the NCAA Tournament in 23 consecutive years between 1982-04, the second longest streak of national appearances in NCAA history.
  • Clemson has won seven NCAA Regional Championships in its history, and no one has more than the Tigers since the format began in 1989.    Clemson has had a pair of “three-peats” in regional championships, winning in 1993-94-95 and in 2002-03-04.
  • Clemson had a streak of seven straight top 10 finishes at the NCAA Tournament between 1997-03.  It is also tied for the longest streak of its kind in Clemson sports history.    The  Clemson men’s soccer program had seven top 10s in a row between 1973-79 and the men’s tennis team had seven consecutive top 10s from 1980-86.
  • When Clemson finished fifth at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship at Purdue University in 2008, it marked the ninth time since 1997 that the Tigers recorded top 10 finish, more than any other school during that time period.
  • Clemson’s fifth place finish in 2008 was the eighth time Larry Penley has had a top five team at Clemson. 

National Championship Season of 2003

  • Clemson won the NCAA Tournament in 2003, the fourth national championship in the history of the school’s athletic program.    It was the first NCAA title for any sport at Clemson in 16 years.
  • During the 2003 season, Clemson won the ACC Championship, the NCAA East Regional and the NCAA National Tournament.  Clemson became the first Division I school to win its conference, NCAA regional and national championship in the same year.
  • Clemson won six tournaments overall during the 2002-03 years, more than any other Division I school and it was the most tournament titles in one season in Clemson history.
  • The 2002-03 Clemson team never finished lower than third in any even the entire year and had an incredible 183-8-3 won-loss record against the field in stroke play competition, a 95.1 percentage.  Clemson finished first or second in 13 of its 14 events that year and was ranked number-one in the nation in every poll from the preseason to the postseason.

Pipeline to the PGA

  • Clemson had four former players who were exempted or had conditional status on the PGA Tour in 2013, the ninth straight year Clemson has had at least four players on Tour. 
  • Jonathan Byrd (5), Lucas Glover (3), D.J. Trahan (2) and Kyle Stanley have combined for 11 PGA Tour wins since 2002.  Trahan won the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in January of 2008 and then finished fourth at the United States Open.  Byrd won the Justin Timberlake Invitational with a hole in one on the third playoff hole in 2010, the only time in PGA Tour history that has happened.  He then won the first event of the 2011 season when he won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui in another playoff.  He was the first golfer to win consecutive PGA Tour events since Tiger Woods in 2009.
  • A Clemson golfer has won at least one PGA Tour event nine consecutive years (every year between 2004-12).  Two different Tigers won an event in 2011, as Jonathan Byrd won the season opening Hyundai Classic in Maui and Lucas Glover won the Wells Fargo Invitational in Charlotte.   That was the first time two different golfers from Clemson won an event in the same year.
  • Clemson, UNLV and Arizona State all had former players win at least one tournament nine consecutive years between 2004-12.
  • Lucas Glover won the 2009 United States Open to become the first former Tiger to win a professional Major.  Glover defeated the World’s number-one and two players in Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, respectively.  Glover then finished fifth at the PGA in August and was ninth in the final PGA money ranking.  He also helped the United States to the President’s Cup championship and won the PGA Grand Slam in October.
  • Michael Hoey has won five events on the European Tour, including the Russian Open in 2013.  He finished 25th in the European Tour money list in 2011 and won two events, including a victory over Rory McIlroy at the Dunhill Cup.

Poll Presence

  • The history of college golf polls is not very long, but since they have had in-season polls, Clemson has been omnipresent.   Between 1996 and 2004, Clemson ranked in the final top 10 eight of nine seasons and in the top 20 each year.  That includes a streak of seven consecutive seasons with a top five finish from 1997-03.
  • Clemson had a streak of 105 consecutive polls ranked in the top 10 in the nation between December 4, 1996 and May 7, 2004.  Within that streak, Clemson was ranked in the top five in the nation for 62 consecutive polls between March 11, 1998 and June 15, 2001, and for 89 of 90 polls between March 11, 1998 and May 7, 2004.
  • As far as individuals are concerned, Clemson has had 27 players ranked in the top 25 of the final Sagarin computer rankings since 1996.   The highest final ranking for a player is a number-two finish by D.J. Trahan in 2002 and 2003.  He was named a first-team All-American each year.  Kyle Stanley finished fifth in 2009.
  • Clemson has been in the top 25 of 188 of the last 204 Sagarin polls and in the top 10 in 132 of the last 204.