March 12, 2006
Freshman Vince Hatfield shot an even par 72 in his first career round as a Clemson golfer to lead the Tigers to a fifth-place standing after the first round of the Southern Highlands Intercollegiate at Southern Highlands Country Club in Las Vegas, NV. The Tigers had a 13-over-par 301 total on the par 72 course that is 7510 yards in length, the longest course on the Clemson schedule.
It was a solid team performance for Larry Penley’s Tigers against a 15-team field that includes 13 schools ranked in the top 25 of the latest Coaches Association rankings. Clemson is six strokes behind number-one ranked Georgia and host school UNLV after the first round. Georgia Tech is third at 297, followed by Oklahoma State at 299. The average team score for the 15 teams was 18-over-par 306.
Hatfield’s round is tied for third best after 18 holes of the 54-hole event that will conclude on Sunday. The rookie from Greenwood is just three shots behind individual leader Daniel Im of UCLA, who shot a 69, and C.J. Gatto of UNLV, who had a 71. Hatfield is tied with Kevin Larsen of Georgia Tech at 72.
Hatfield got his Clemson career off to a rough start, as he was three over par through four holes, including a double bogey seven on the par five third hole. But, Hatfield responded by scoring five-under-par over the next eight holes, including an eagle two on the par four 11th hole. He got his score to two-unde-par, but had a double bogey on the par three 17th hole before finishing with a par on 18 and a 72 total for the day.
Stephen Poole and Brian Duncan, the two seniors in the Clemson lineup, both had four-over-par 76 scores on Friday. Poole had a 37 on the front nine, but had a double bogey on 14 that led to a 39 on the back. Duncan had nine hole scores of 38-38, but a four-over par run on holes 9-11 prohibited the native of Greenville from a strong round. Still, he and Poole are tied for 21st at 76.
David May, one of three freshmen in the Clemson lineup, was even par through 13 holes with a top 10 standing individually, but he played the last five holes at five over par, including a triple bogey on the 17th. He finished with a round of 77.
Freshman Phillip Mollica actually had the best score on the back nine and the strongest finish among the Tigers, but his 78 did not count towards Clemson’s team score. Mollica had a 43 on the front nine with two double bogeys and a triple bogey, but he played the last six holes in two under par.
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