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Men’s Golf Goes to NCAA Championships

May 22, 1999

BARRINGTON, RI – Jonathan Byrd, John Engler, Lucas Glover and Jani Saari all posted two-putt pars, allowing Clemson to defeat Mississippi State in a playoff and qualify for the NCAA National golf championships. It is the 18th consecutive year Clemson has qualified for the National tournament, but Saturday was the closest Clemson has come to missing the cut. The tournament was played at Rhode Island Country club in Barrington, RI.

Officially, the Tigers finished 11th in the 23 team field. The top 11 teams qualify for the National tournament. Clemson, ranked second in the tournament heading into the final round, had a team round of 303 on Saturday, its second worst single day total of the year.

The Tigers actually finished in a tie for 10th place with Augusta College and Mississippi State at 876 after regulation play. Thus a playoff was required with two of the three teams moving on to the nationals. All five players on each team played a different hole simultaneously.

Augusta State had a team score of one under par, Clemson was even and Mississippi State was three-over par. That allowed Augusta State to claim the number-10 spot, and Clemson the number-11 spot.

Clemson had struggled all day with the 303 score. No Tiger was within two strokes of par. John Engler led the Tigers with a 74, while first-team All-ACC players Jonathan Byrd and Lucas Glover had 77s. Freshman Michael Hoey had a 75 and sophomore Jani Saari had a 77.

Augusta State got in to the playoff with a 283 on Saturday, while Mississippi State had a 285. Thus, Clemson won the playoff against a Mississippi State team that had scored 18 strokes better than the Tigers during the 18-hole round earlier in the day.

Clemson had finished its round at 1:15 PM and had a five-hour wait to see if could even make a playoff. South Alabama was eight over par on its last three holes and North Florida was 10 over for their last nine, allowing Clemson to get into the playoff.

“We practiced on the putting green until about 4:00 PM, then we got in the van and went to a nearby public beach,” said Head Coach Larry Penley. “We needed to clear our minds and prepare for the playoff. It was actually Michael Hoey’s idea. We got off by ourself and got some fresh air for about an hour, then came back to the course.” Mississippi State, the team Clemson defeated in the playoff, is coached by former Clemson All-American Nicky Goetze, who started four years for Penley (1990-93).

Clemson Results at NCAA East Regional

Rhode Island Country Club, Barrington, RI

John Engler             73-71-74                218     32ndJonathan Byrd           75-67-77                219     37thMichael Hoey            72-72-75                219     37thLucas Glover            71-75-77                223     64thJani Saari              78-72-77                227     87thTotals               291-282-303                876     11th