May 19, 2006
Cleveland, OH — Vince Hatfield recorded a second consecutive one-over-par 72 to lead Clemson to a 294 team score and an eighth-place standing after two rounds of the NCAA Central Regional at Sand Ridge Golf club near Cleveland, OH. The Tigers are striving to finish Saturday’s third and final round in the top 10 and move on to the NCAA Championship tournament at Sunriver, OR May 30 to June 2.
Clemson had a 10-over-par 294 team score on Friday, a two-stroke improvement over the first round. However, it was much improved relative to the rest of the field. Clemson was 14th after the first round, but recorded the sixth best team score in the 27th team field on Friday to improve six places in the standings. Friday’s round was played in 47 degree temperature and a light but steady rain that made the playing conditions difficult. Clemson joined Georgia Tech and Tulsa as the only schools among the top 16 teams to post an improved team score over the first round.
Oklahoma State leads the Central Regional field with a 565 team score, three-under par. The Cowboys hold a nine-shot lead over Big Ten Champion Northwestern, who stands at 574, six over par. Texas A&M is third at 575, while Lamar is fourth at 581. Minnesota and Georgia Tech are tied at 583, while Duke is seventh at 587. Clemson, Oklahoma and TCU are tied for eighth at 590, while Texas and Tulsa are tied for 11th at 592. Duke and Texas were paired with Clemson on Friday and both Tiger opponents shot 17 over par 301.
With the three way tie for eight, the Tigers are on the cutline heading into the final round. Five other schools are between 22 and 26 over and will certainly challenge the Tigers on Saturday.
“Considering the weather elements we played well today,” said head coach Larry Penley. “We could have had a very good round had we not counted three bogeys on the 17th (par three). A seven over team score today would have been outstanding.
” We have to finish rounds off better than we have done lately, but we moved up the leader board to under the cutline. Making the 10-team cut is what it is all about at this tournament.We battled all day and hung in there in difficult conditions. I was proud of the team, especially the young players.” Clemson is attempting to start a new streak of NCAA National tournament appearances. Last year the Tigers failed to make the national tournament for the first time since 1981.
Hatfield was steady for the second consecutive day. The freshman from Greenwood, SC had birdies on the 15th and 18th holes coming in. He birdied the 18th hole by hitting his second shot just short of the green. He then chipped up to within a foot and made the putt for birdie. Hatfield has now been Clemson’s best golfer in two consecutive rounds, the first time he has done that in a tournament this year.
Hatfield is ranked 14th individually after two rounds, Clemson’s highest ranked performer. He is trying to become the second consecutive #5 player to lead Clemson at the regional. Last year Stephen Poole was Clemson’s #5 player entering the tournament, but finished 18th overall to rank first among Tiger players.
Three Clemson golfers had rounds of 74 on Friday. Senior Stephen Poole, sophomore Tanner Ervin and freshman David May, all had three-over par 74s in the difficult conditions.
Poole was four over for the first six holes, but played the last 12 holes at one-under par. Poole made a three-foot putt for birdie on the seventh and made a 12 footer for birdie on the 18th. He had a bogey four on the 17th, but that was his only blemish over the last 12 holes. He now has 27 pars for the first two rounds, five more than any other Tiger.
May had his second straight 74 on Friday. He has six birdies in the two rounds, including two on Friday. He had one bogey and eight pars for the first nine holes and had birdies on 12 and 14 to highlight his day’s work.
Ervin had a three-stroke improvement over his first round in scoring the 74 on Friday. He had a solid par save from the rough on the ninth hole when he hit his chip shot (third) 10 feet short, but made the uphill putt for a par. Ervin was listed as having scored a 79 on the initial post by golfstat, the internet site that charts player and team scores. But, his round was corrected when official scorers reviewed his scorecard.
Brian Duncan had a 77 and his score did not count towards Clemson’s team score for the second straight day. However, the senior finished strong with three birdies in his last four holes, a streak that will hopefully set him on the right track for Saturday’s final round. He suffered a bad break on the seventh hole when he lost his ball in the rough and he scored a double bogey.
Clemson will tee off in the second wave of teams on Saturday just after 8:00 AM. Exact tee times will be posted by golfstat.com.
Clemson scores after two rounds of NCAA Central Regional Par 71, 7173 Yards, Sand Ridge Golf Club, Chadron, OH
Vince Hatfield 72-72 144 14th Stephen Poole 73-74 147 29th David May 74-74 148 45th Tanner Ervin 77-74 151 73rd Brian Duncan 81-77 158 132nd
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