March 30, 2006
The Tiger golf team will compete this weekend in the Augusta State Invitational at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans, GA. The 54-hole event will take place April 1-2 with the 15 teams playing 36 holes on Saturday and 18 on Sunday.
This is a new site for the event that formerly was held at Forest Hills Country Club in Augusta, GA. The Champions Retreat Golf Club has 27 holes but the tournament will only be played on 18 of the 27. Play will be conducted on the Nicklaus Bluffs nine, which is a par 36, 3,660 yards, and the Palmer Island nine which is a par 36, 3,605 yards.
Another strong field will be competing this week as the field includes six of the top-25 teams in the country according to the latest Sagarin/Golfweek rankings, plus the Division II number one-ranked team in the country in USC-Aiken. The field includes fifth-ranked UCLA, 11th-ranked ETSU, 12th-ranked Tennessee, 14th-ranked Clemson, 23rd-ranked Minnesota, 25th-ranked Coastal Carolina, host school Augusta State, Georgia Southern, LSU, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Mississippi, Virginia Tech, Washington.
Clemson has had some success at the event in the past few years at this event. The Tigers finished second in 2003 to Augusta State, who shot a tournament record 44-under -par to Clemson’s 42-under-par. Clemson’s Matt Hendrix was individual medalist in 2004 winning in a playoff over Duke’s Nathan Smith. Former Tiger Jim MacFie also won the individual championship in the fall of 1984, the only previous year Clemson won the team title at the Augusta State Invitational.
The Tigers will be taking a more experienced team this week in hopes of gaining their first tournament victory of the year. Senior Brian Duncan will be leading the Tigers again this week after another solid finish last week at the Hootie @Bulls Bay Invitational. Duncan has a 73.44 stroke average and is ranked 21st in the country according to the latest Golfweek rankings.
Stephen Poole is another senior competing this week for the Tigers. Poole has a 74.00 stroke average and has one top 10 and two top-20 finishes this season.
Tanner Ervin will remain in the lineup after his solid top-20 finish last week at the Hootie Invitational where he shot rounds of 71-69-77. Tanner has a 74.50 stroke average after playing in four events for the Tigers.
Entering the lineup for the first time this spring will be senior Martin Catalioto. He competed in every event in the fall and recorded his best at Clemson in the Jerry Pate where he shot rounds of 68-71-73 for a 14th place finish.
Also returning to the lineup will be freshman Vince Hatfield. After sitting out last week, Vince looks to make an impact with the offensive game he brings to the table. Hatfield has played in just two events this year and has a 75.83 stroke average.
Clemson will also take Luke Hopkins as an individual this week to compete in the tournament. Luke played in his first tournament two weeks ago in the Hall of Fame Invitational and shot rounds of 80-80-76.
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