Sept. 1, 2002
Clemson, SC – The Clemson golf team will open its season Monday in the Topy Cup in Japan. The Tigers are one of four NCAA teams who will be among the 18 teams competing for the title.
Coach Larry Penley will be taking a team to Japan to start the season for the third time in his career as Clemson’s head coach. His team finished second out of 12 teams at the 1987 event, while his 1996 team was third out of 12 teams.
Penley will bring a veteran team to Japan to open his 20th season as Clemson head coach. He has taken the Tigers to the NCAA National Tournament in each of his previous 19 years and chances are he will continue the streak this year. All five starters from last year’s third place team return.
Leading the Tigers will be 2002 National Player of the Year D.J. Trahan. The senior is the number-one ranked amateur golfer in the world and will probably be the number-one ranked player in college golf when the first rankings are issued late next week.
Trahan, who won the South Carolina Amateur this past August for the second straight year, had a 70.33 stroke average last year, lowest in Clemson history. He had a school record 10 top 10 finishes a year ago in posting a 51-under-par cumulative score for his 40 rounds. His 71.65 career stroke average is also best in Clemson history.
Junior Gregg Jones is back for his third year as a starter. A second-team All-American a year ago, the native of Florence had a 71.81 stroke average a year ago, second to Trahan, but eighth best for a single season in Clemson history. He had four top 10 finishes for the year and has a career stroke average of 72.51.
Senior Ben Duncan is another returning starter. He came on strong at the end of last year, including and 11th place finish at the ACC Tournament. Duncan had a 73.54 stroke average a year ago in helping Clemson to that number-three national ranking.
Matt Hendrix ranked fourth on the team in stroke average last year with a 73.70 stroke average. He played every round in every event. The consistent golfer ranked between 25-37 in eight of his 13 events last year.
Jack Ferguson will be the fifth Tiger making the trip to Japan. The native of Seneca, SC had a 74.72 stroke average for six tournaments last year. But, he had an outstanding summer, finishing second at the South Carolina Amateur and the Cardinal Amateur and third at the Southern Amateur.
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