Feb. 24, 2004
Clemson’s bid for its first golf championship since winning the NCAA National last June fell one stroke short of No. 1 Florida on Tuesday in the Puerto Rico Classic. The Tigers double bogeyed the final hole of the tournament, while the Gators had three birdies. The irony of the entire tournament was that the double bogey came at the hands of Matt Hendrix, who claimed his first medallist honors as a collegian. Clemson finished in the top five for the sixth time in as many tournaments this year. Florida, the nation’s No. 1 team in both the coaches’ polls and Sagarin rankings, won its fifth tournament of the season. Florida shot 289 on Tuesday to finish with a final team score of 855, one better than the Tigers.
The Tigers shot a two-under par 286 as a team in the final round. Clemson played without the services of sophomore Brian Duncan after his fifth hole of the final round. Duncan was ill and withdrew from the tournament, so the Tigers played with just four individuals for most of the afternoon.
Hendrix shot rounds of 70-67-70 to shoot a nine-under par 207, claiming his first individual trophy while at Clemson. He had five birdies in the final round, but dropped two shots on the 18th hole after electing to go with a stronger club on his approach to the green. Hendrix finished with a tournament-high 15 birdies during the 54-hole event. He was the first medallist for Clemson since D.J. Trahan claimed the honors in the Mercedes Benz Collegiate last February.
Jack Ferguson shot a final round 74 and finished in a tie for seventh. It was his third top 10 finish of the 2003-04 season. Gregg Jones and Brent Delahoussaye both finished tied for 19th. Jones rebounded from a 76 in round two with an even par 72 on Tuesday. Delahoussaye shot a pair of 74s in the first two rounds, but had a two-under par 70 in the final round.
Oklahoma, the leader after round two, finished with an 858 score and in third place. Georgia and Oklahoma State finished fourth and fifth, respectively. N.C. State claimed sixth place, while Virginia took seventh. Georgia Tech and Minnesota tied for eighth. The rest of the field, in order, was East Tennessee State, Virginia Tech, Purdue, Kent State, Northwestern, Duke, Illinois, and Michigan.
The Tigers return to action March 13-15 to compete in the Las Vegas Intercollegiate.
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