March 16, 2006
The Clemson Tiger golf team will compete this weekend in the Hall of Fame Invitational in Houston, TX. The Tigers are competing in another strong 16-team field this week that will include eight of the top-23 teams in the country according to the latest Golf Coaches Association of America poll.
This is Clemson’s first ever appearance in the Hall of Fame Invitational, which will be held at the Red Stone Golf and Country Club in Houston. It is the site of the PGA Tour’s Texas Open. This is the second of three tournaments in a 19-day period for Penley’s young team.
Among the teams competing with the 21st ranked Tigers in the event are top ranked Georgia, fourth-ranked Oklahoma State, eighth-ranked Duke, 14th ranked Wake Forest, 19th ranked Texas A&M, and 22nd ranked East Tennessee State. Also in the field are nationally prominent programs Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, TCU, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Oklahoma defending Division II champion USC-Aiken, and defending Division III champion Guilford.
The Tigers will bring two seniors and three freshmen for the second consecutive tournament, but Larry Penley will be adding a new face to his lineup this week.
Brian Duncan is the first of the two seniors playing this week for Tigers. Duncan has the lowest stroke average on the team for the year with a 73.17. He has not finished outside of the top-20 in any event this year and is ranked 10th according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. He is coming off a seventh-place finish at the Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas last week, the second best finish of his Clemson career.
Stephen Poole is the other senior competing this week for the Tigers. Poole is second on the team in stroke average with a 74.07 and is ranked 81st in the country individually according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
Freshman Vince Hatfield is making his second career start for Clemson this week. Vince has a 74.33 stroke average after one event. He placed 13th in last week’s Southern Highlands Collegiate to help lead Clemson to their first top-5 finish of the season.
David May is another freshman starting this week. May, who has played in every event this season, has a 75.00 stroke average. He had his top performance of the year at the Carpet Classic in the Fall when he finished second.
Entering the lineup for the first time in his career this week is freshman Luke Hopkins. The native of Greer, SC and graduate of Eastside High School was an honorable mention AJGA All-American last year.
Hopkins will replace classmate Phillip Mollica in the Clemson lineup. Hopkins will be the fourth different freshman to play in a tournament this year. This is the first time since the 1994-95 season that Clemson has played that many freshmen over the course of the season.
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