May 10, 2010
Clemson, SC — Clemson was one of 13 teams selected for the South Regional of the NCAA Golf Tournament on Monday. The tournament will be played May 20-22 at the par 72 (7137 yards) Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club in Alpharetta, GA. The course was designed by noted golf architect Tom Fazio and it opened in 2002.
Joining Clemson in the field are top seed Oklahoma State, second seed Arizona State, and third seed Georgia Tech, who also serves as the host school. Clemson is the #4 seed, followed by Arkansas, Wake Forest, Mississippi, Furman, Brigham Young, Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina, South Alabama and Towson.
Clemson will be paired with Arkansas and Wake Forest in the first two rounds.
As far as national rankings are concerned, Oklahoma State is the top ranked team in the nation by Golf World and the Sagarin Computer rankings. Arizona State is ranked 14th by Sagarin, while Clemson is 17th and Georgia Tech is 18th.
This is the 29th consecutive year the Clemson program has been selected as a team for the NCAA Men’s Golf Tournament, the 27th consecutive year under Head Coach Larry Penley. It is the longest streak of consecutive NCAA team tournament appearances in Clemson sports history.
“I like the selection, but I am a bit shocked,” said Penley. “I really thought we were going to have to fly somewhere. When they announced that UCLA was going to Yale as he top seed in the East with the very first selection, I thought there would be a lot of travel.
” I am excited and I am sure our players will be too. With our entire five-man lineup from the state of South Carolina that means their families will get to see them play and I think we will have some Clemson fans travel down the road.
“Overall, it is a balanced field. The committee did a good job. The top five teams advance to the finals, so that is the goal. There are a lot of teams in this field that can reach the nationals, so we will have to play well.” Clemson has played against eight of the other 12 teams in the regional and has a combined record of 11-8 against those teams.
Clemson has an outstanding history in NCAA Regional play. This is the 22nd year of NCAA regional play and Clemson has won the regional championship seven times. Penley is the only Division I coach with seven regional championships. Clemson has qualified for the NCAA National tournament through the regional 18 times in the last 21 years.
Clemson has won seven NCAA regional championships, tied with Oklahoma State for the most in the nation. Arizona State and Arizona are tied for third behind Clemson and Oklahoma State with six apiece.
Clemson is ranked 19th in the latest Golf World poll and 17th by the Golfweek Sagarin computer rankings. Larry Penley’s Tigers will play an all-South Carolina lineup at the NCAA Tournament.
Clemson is led by graduate Ben Martin, who has a 72.62 stroke average in 26 rounds over nine events. The three-time first-team All-ACC selection has four top 10 finishes, including co-medalist honors at the Furman Invitational in March. A native of Greenwood, SC, Martin finished 12th at the ACC Tournament, Clemson’s best at the conference tournament. He was named the AgSouth Clemson Male Student-Athlete of the Year this year and was the recipient of an honorary Weaver-James-Corrigan Scholarship from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Clemson’s next three stroke average leaders are separated by just 0.19 strokes per round for the year. Jacob Burger has Clemson’s second best stroke average with a 72.85 figure and has five consecutive top 20 finishes, the best active streak on the team. The native of Orangeburg, SC has a 71.94 stroke average in the spring, second only to Martin’s 71.89 figure for the spring part of the schedule.
Luke Hopkins, who received his undergraduate degree from Clemson on May 7, is third on the team with a 72.90 stroke average. The native of Greer, SC has four top 10 finishes to tie Martin for first on the team. He finished seventh at the Puerto Rico Classic after firing an eight under par 208 score, the best 54-hole score of his career.
Two first-year freshmen round out Clemson’s starting lineup for the NCAA Regional tournament, the first time Clemson has played at least two freshmen in the postseason since 2007 when Kyle Stanley, Sam Saunders and Martin were all freshmen. Corbin Mills has a 73.04 stroke average thanks to four rounds in the 60s, including a pair of 67 scores, both in the spring. The native of Anderson, SC has a team best three top six finishes, including a sixth place at Augusta State Invitational when he had a 207 score for 54 holes, tied for the best in Clemson history by a freshman.
Crawford Reeves of Greenville, SC has a 75.04 stroke average for the year, but has a 73.17 stroke average for his last four events. He finished fourth at the Furman Invitational in March and has eight under-par rounds, fourth on the team.
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