May 5, 2008
Clemson, SC–Clemson’s golf team received a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the 27th consecutive year on Monday. The streak of appearances is the second longest in college golf, trailing only the active streak of 62 consecutive years by Oklahoma State. It is the 28th overall bid for the Clemson men’s golf program.
Larry Penley’s team will start play in the NCAA West Regional on Thursday, May 15. It marks the first time the Tigers will not be playing in either the East or Central Regional. The tournament will be held at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Washington. The 54-hole event will continue through Saturday, May 17. The top 10 teams in the 27-team regional will advance to the NCAA Championship Tournament at The Kampen Course at Purdue University, May 28-31.
Clemson will not be the only team from the Atlantic Coast Conference participating in the West Regional. Florida State and North Carolina will also join the Tigers in Washington. Clemson will be the #5 seed in the regional.
This is Penley’s 25th season as Clemson head coach and all 25 years he has taken the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament, the longest streak in Clemson athletics history in any team sport.
Clemson has competed in the NCAA Tournament every year since 1982. The Tigers have won seven NCAA Regional titles, more than any other Division I school. The NCAA adopted the regional qualifying format in 1989 and Clemson has advanced to the national tournament from the regional every year but two.
Clemson’s finest NCAA Tournament performance came in 2003 when the Tigers won their only national championship with a two-stroke victory over host school Oklahoma State. Clemson also won the regional tournament and the ACC Tournament that year, the first school in NCAA history to win all three of those events in the same year.
Clemson has not won a tournament this year, but has finished second four times, twice in the fall and twice in the spring. Clemson was second at The Brickyard in Macon, GA October 7-9 and second at the Isleworth Collegiate at Windermere, FL October 21-23. Those were the last two events of the fall schedule. Clemson also finished second at The Hootie in Mount Pleasant, SC March 23-25 and at the Furman Invitational in Greenville, March 28-30.
Clemson’s top golfer is sophomore Kyle Stanley. The native of Gig Harbor, WA has a 72.14 stroke average with 13 under-par rounds and a team-best six rounds in the 60s. Stanley was a first-team All-American last year after he finished third at the NCAA East Regional and second at the NCAA National Tournament.
Sam Saunders has the second best stroke average on the club with a 73.11 figure. He has two top 10 finishes and 10 rounds at par or better. Saunders will be in his second NCAA Tournament. He finished seventh at the Furman Invitational for his top finish of this year.
David May is a junior and is third on the team in stroke average. The native of Auburn, NY was a starter on Clemson’s seventh ranked 2006 team as a freshman. May finished 32nd at the NCAA national tournament that year and was 23rd last year at the NCAA Regional. He has a 73.24 stroke average this year, nearly a stroke better than his 74.21 average entering this year.
Ben Martin is an experienced sophomore coming off his top tournament of the year. Martin was Clemson’s top golfer at the ACC Tournament two weeks ago when he finished eighth with a 211 score. For the year he has a 73.29 figure with two top 10 finishes. He was a first-team All-ACC selection as a freshman.
Phillip Mollica, a junior from Anderson, has also had a strong year. He has a 73.45 stroke average for the year, but he has a 72.53 average in the spring, second best on the team. Mollica finished third at The Hootie in March, the top finish by any Clemson golfer in a tournament this year. Last summer Mollica won the North-South Amateur at Pinehurst #2.
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