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Clemson Heads to ACC Tournament

Clemson Heads to ACC Tournament

April 19, 2010

2010 ACC Golf Championship Poster

CLEMSON, SC – Ben Martin and Luke Hopkins will lead Clemson to the 2010 ACC Golf Tournament this weekend at The Old North State Club at New London, NC. The 11 ACC teams that play golf will compete Friday through Sunday with 18 holes each day on the 7102 yard layout. Martin and Hopkins both played in the event last year and helped the Tigers to a second place finish.

Head Coach Larry Penley will also bring two first-year freshmen (Corbin Mills and Crawford Reeves) and a sophomore (Jacob Burger) in his five-player lineup and those young players will make their first appearance at the ACC Tournament. Clemson enters the tournament ranked 19th in the latest Golf World Coaches Poll and 16th by the Sagarin Computer poll published by Golfweek.

“There are five or six teams that could win the ACC Tournament,” said Penley, who has won the event eight times. “There is a great balance in the ACC this year. We have had a solid Spring and look forward to playing well and competing for the championship this weekend.”

Clemson has five top four finishes in six tournaments this Spring, including a victory at the Furman Invitational on March 21, the 60th victory of Penley’s career. Clemson has not played since April 3-4 at the Augusta State Invitational when the Tigers finished fourth with a 19-under par score. They achieved that fourth-place finish even though top player Ben Martin did not play because he was preparing for the Masters.

The 19-day layoff prior to the tournament is the longest Clemson has had entering the conference championship since 1979 when there was a 23-day layoff prior to the ACC Tournament.

Clemson has won the ACC Tournament nine times in its history, including four times at the Old North State. Clemson’s most recent title came in 2004 when Jack Ferguson, Matt Hendrix and Stephen Poole all finished in the top six to lead the Tigers to a 27-under par score and the victory. Clemson also won the ACC Tournament at The Old North State in 1998, 2000 and 2003.

This will be Martin’s third ACC Tournament. He was Clemson’s best golfer at the 2008 ACC Tournament with a 211 score, five-under-par, good enough for an eighth-place finish. He finished 15th last year with a 217 score.

Martin has four top 10 finishes in eight tournaments this year, including co-medalist honors at the Furman Invitational March 19-21. He has a team best 72.78 stroke average this year and has nine under-par rounds, tied for the team best. He had scores of 75-80 at The Masters two weeks ago, one of six amateurs to play in the professional major at Augusta National. He was just the third Clemson golfer to play in the Masters while he was still a Clemson student, joining Chris Patton (1990) and D.J. Trahan (2001).

Luke Hopkins will make his second trip to the ACC Tournament. The senior finished 40th last year with a 223 score. So far this year, Hopkins has a 72.92 stroke average, third best on the team, but just 0.14 strokes per round behind Martin. Hopkins also has four top 10 finishes, including three in the spring. His top performance came at the Puerto Rico Classic where his career best 208 score for 54 holes was seventh best against a national field.

Freshman Corbin Mills actually has the second best stroke average on the team with a 72.87 figure. Mills has three top 10 finishes this year, including a third place at Furman, fifth place at the Jacksonville Invitational and a sixth place at Augusta State. He was Clemson’s top golfer at the Augusta State tournament with a 207 score, and that tied for the best 54-hole score in Clemson history by a freshman. Mills had had three of the top five individual rounds by Clemson golfers this year.

Jacob Burger is a sophomore from Orangeburg, SC who has also had a solid spring. Burger is fourth on the team with a 72.96 stroke average. But, he has been Clemson’s second best golfer at each of the last two events. He was 14th at the Augusta State Invitational with a six under par score of 210, his career best for a 54 hole event, and shot even par 213 at the Hootie at Bulls Bay, good enough for 17th in the field.

Crawford Reeves, a freshman from Greenville, SC, will round out the Clemson lineup. Reeves has a 75.22 stroke average for the year, but has a 73.0 average for his last nine rounds. He finished fourth at the Furman Invitational as an individual in March. He also had a top 10 at the Jacksonville Invitational in February.