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Men’s Golf Holds onto No. 1 Ranking

March 29, 1999

Clemson 27-10 against Top 10 Teams Clemson enters the Carpet Classic ranked number-one in the nation in all three college golf polls. The Tigers have been number-one all spring and for much of the fall. Five tournament championships in eight tournaments have a lot to do with that.

But, Clemson has achieved this success against a top schedule. A look to the Mastercard rankings of March 24 tells us that Clemson has been in tournaments against the other nine teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation. The Tigers have also faced 15 of the 19 other teams ranked in the top 20 and 18 of the other 24 teams in the top 25.

So far this year, Clemson is 27-10 against the top 10 teams and has a stroke margin of -395, or -44 strokes per team. Clemson is 43-11 against the top 20 teams with a stroke margin of -891, or -59 strokes per game.

No top 25 team has a stroke margin advantage against Clemson and no teams has a head to head record advantage. Only UNLV (2-2), Oklahoma State (2-2) and Georgia (3-3) are even tied with Clemson as far as head to head play is concerned.

Clemson vs. the Mastercard Top 10

(As of March 24 poll, through results of March 28)Rk  Team              W-L  Stk Mar. 1.  Clemson 2.  UNLV             2-2    -3 3.  Georgia Tech     6-0    -49 4.  Georgia          3-3    -37 5.  Oklahoma State   2-2    -8 6.  Texas            3-0    -79 7.  Houston          4-1    -64 8.  Arizona State    3-1    -31 9.  Florida          3-1    -7110.  Northwestern     1-0    -53     Total           27-10   -395

Clemson Undefeated in ACC While Clemson has an outstanding 27-10 record against top 10 teams, the Tigers are perfect in the ACC, 20-0. That includes a 6-0 record against third-ranked Georgia Tech. The Tigers won four of the last five against Tech last year, so Clemson is 10-1 against the Yellow Jackets and noted amateur Matt Kuchar since last spring.

Larry Penley’s team is -643 strokes against ACC teams this year, an average of -92 strokes per ACC team. That dominance is similar to Duke’s in men’s basketball this year, where the Blue Devils were 16-0 against league opponents. There is even a common denominator between that Duke basketball team and the Clemson golf team. Duke point guard William Avery went to high school with Clemson golfer John Engler at Westside High in Augusta. Engler has played some pickup hoops with Avery, but Avery is yet to venture to the golf course with Engler.

Clemson vs. the ACC in 1998-99

   Duke              1-0  -16   Florida State     1-0  -73   Georgia Tech      6-0  -49   Maryland          0-0   North Carolina    3-0  -135   NC State          2-0  -67   Virginia          4-0  -155   Wake Forest       3-0  -148   Totals           20-0  -643

Clemson Among National Stat Leaders

While Clemson is ranked number-one in the three college golf polls, Larry Penley’s team has the stats in various golf performance categories to back up that ranking. As a team, Clemson ranked in the top 10 in the nation in seven of the eight possible areas computed by GolfStat. That includes a number-one ranking in par 4 scoring average.

Individually, four different Clemson players rank one or two in the nation in various categories. John Engler and Michael Hoey rank one-two in the nation in both percentage of fairways hit and greens reached in regulation. Jonathan Byrd, Clemson’s highest ranked player, is first in total short game, third in putts on greens reached in regulation and 10th in par four scoring. Lucas glover is second in subpar strokes per round.

Clemson Team in GolfStat Rankings

*  Par 4 Scoring--1st--4.09*  Par 5 Scoring--9th--4.81*  Greens in Regution--2nd--.705*% Fairways hit--4th--.745*  Total Short Game--8th--.557*  Subpar strokes/Round--3rd--3.44*  Putts on Greens in Regulation--3rd--1.835

Individual Rankings in Golfstat

Jonathan Byrd--        *1st--Total Short Game (.725)        *3rd--Putts on Green in Regulation (1.741)        *10th Par 4 Scoring (4.84)John Engler--        *1st--Fairways Hit (.913)        *1st--Greens in Regulation (.824)        *4th--Par 4 Scoring (4.00)Lucas Glover--        *2nd--Subpar Strokes/Round (4.19)        *8th--Par 5 Scoring (4.57)Michael Hoey--        *2nd--Fairways Hit (.893)        *2nd--Greens in Regulation (.815)

Byrd 16-under for the Year Jonathan Byrd led Clemson to victory at the Schenkel Invitational in Clemson’s most recent event. He fired a two-under-par 214 to finish in a tie for fourth. It was his sixth top 10 finish of the year, his eighth in a row in the top 20. Bryrd’s final round 69 was the best individual round of the tournament for a Tiger and it was his 22nd career round in the 60s.

Byrd won medalist performer honors in the first tournament of the year, as his 207 won the Ridges intercollegiate at Johnson City, TN. He was also second at the Golf World in November.

For his career, Byrd now has a 72.65 career average, best in Clemson history. His performance this year has put him just ahead of Chris Patton, who had a 72.71 stroke average between 1986-90. Byrd now has 19 top 10 finishes in 34 career events, and he is the only Clemson golfer in history to have over 50 percent of his tournaments end in top 10 finishes. Kevin Johnson is the closest with 27 top 10s in 54 career tournaments.

Byrd now has 40 career under-par rounds, already fifth in school history and is fourth in rounds in the 60s with 22. Remember he is only a junior. He is attempting to become the first Clemson golfer in history to be first-team All-ACC as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

Three Tigers under 72 Average Three of Clemson’s starting five current have stroke averages under 72.00. That is an incredible statement considering only three players in Clemson history have had averages under 72.0 for the course of a season. Charles Warren set the school record last year with a 71.28 average, while Chris Patton had a 71.85 average in 1988-89 and Dillard Pruitt played to a 71.94 average in 1983-84.

Jonathan Byrd leads the Tigers this year with a 71.21 stroke average through 24 rounds this year. That is ahead of Warren’s single season record. John Engler, the recent winner of the San Juan Shootout, has a 71.63 average for 24 rounds. Lucas Glover is a third Tiger under 72.0 with a 71.88 average. All three are even par or better for the season. No Clemson team in history has ever had three players end a season with even par or better cumulative totals.

All five of Clemson’s starters have had rounds of 67 or better this year. Byrd, Hoey, Glover and Elliot Gealy have all had at least a 67 this year, while John Engler’s season low is 64, set at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate last fall. Engler also had a 65 in the final round at the third round of the San Juan Shootout. Glover had a final round 66 at the Golf Digest.

Engler Breaks 12-year-old Record John Engler punctuated his 205 performance with a 65 at the San Juan Shootout and won co-medalist honors with East Tennessee State’s David Christensen. Engler’s 205 score and -11 rating versus par broke school records in both areas for a Clemson sophomore, another indication of the young talent on this Clemson team.

Engler broke the sophomore tournament record held by Kevin Johnson, who had a 206 (-10) at the Homberg Intercollegiate in 1986-87. The 205 by Engler this year tied for the second best overall tournament in Clemson history. Chris Patton had a 204 for a 54-hole All-American Tournament in 1990. That was at the Sun Bowl Tournament. Patton also shot a 205 at the event in 1989. Thus, Charles Warren and Engler are the only Clemson players in history to have a 205 in a team tournament.

Hoey Has Had an Impact Last season John Engler and Lucas Glover both shattered the school record for season stroke average by a freshman. That record might be in jeopardy again, as freshman Michael Hoey has had a strong showing for his first four events.

The freshman from Ireland has a 72.78 stroke average so far this year and has finished in the top 20 in five of his six events. He has three top 12 finishes, including his 212 score at the San Juan Shootout. He finished 13th at the Schenkel, but he was Clemson’s second best competitor, a key to Clemson’s team victory.

Hoey finished sixth in his first event as a Clemson golfer, the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate when he had a 207, best tournament score in Clemson history for a freshman. He was tied for first after a 67 after the opening round of the San Juan Shootout. A final round 75 knocked him out of the top 10, but his four under par performance was still outstanding.

Gealy Has Career Best Performance Clemson has not had consistent play from the number-five position over the last couple of seasons, but Elliot Gealy is trying to change that in his red-shirt senior year. Gealy has played very well in his last three events, finishing in the top 11 in two events. The native of Salisbury, NC had rounds of 71 and 72 to close the fall, his last two rounds at the Mauna Kea, leaading to an 11th place ranking individually and helping Clemson to the team title.

At the San Juan Shootout, Gealy had rounds of 73-67 -71. It gave Gealy a six under par total for his last five rounds. The 67 tied his career best for a single round and the 211 score was his best by seven strokes, as was his -5 score versus par. At Las Vegas, all three of Gealy’s rounds counted on the way to a 222 score for the 54 holes.

Active Tigers have Five Medalist Honors Three different current Tigers have won a tournament in their careers. Jonathan Byrd, who has been first-team All-ACC as a freshman and sophomore, has won two titles, the 1997 San Juan Shootout, and The Ridges, this past fall. Lucas Glover also has a pair of wins, last year’s Carpet Classic and the Mauna Kea this past November. John Engler, perhaps Clemson’s most consistent golfer, won his first career event at the San Juan Shootout.

Clemson has FiveTournament Victories Clemson’s win at the Schenkel was the fifth of the academic year for Larry Penley’s program, tying the Clemson single year record. Clemson also won The Ridges, the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate and the Mauna Kea in the fall and the San Juan Shootout in the Spring. The school record for tournament titles in the same academic year is five, set in 1986-87 and 1987-88. Clemson had three wins in 1997-98, the Jerry Pate, the Carpet Classic and the ACC Tournament. Clemson has won at least one tournament every year since 1980-81.

Tigers 20-under in Six of Last 11 Tourneys Perhaps the greatest documentation of Clemson’s level of play over the last couple of years has been an examination of the team’s scores versus par. Clemson shot -34 for the 54 holes of the San Juan Shootout, an all-time record for any Clemson tournament, regardless of the number of holes. That was the third time this year and the sixth time in the last 11 tournaments that Clemson has been 20-under par or better for a tournament. In the previous 68 seasons of Clemson golf, Clemson had just two tournaments in which it was 20 under par or better.

Clemson #1 in Sagarin Poll Clemson is ranked number-one in the nation in the latest Jeff Sagarin Computer poll and the Mastercard poll (March 24). This is the first year that Sagarin Computer rankings have been used to rate college golf teams and individuals.

Clemson has three consensus top 10 players, the only school in the nation that can make that claim. Jonathan Bryd is the top rated Tiger, ranking second in Sagarin, third in Mastercard and fourth by Golfstat. John Engler is fifth by Sagarin and Mastercard and seventh by Golfstat. Lucas Glover is top 11 in all three polls.

Clemson Individual Player Rankings (As of March 11, 1999)

Player Sagarin Mastercard Golfstat Jonathan Byrd 2nd (69.07) 3rd (215.450) 4th (71.19) John Engler 5th (69.21) 5th (208.455) 7th (71.38) Lucas Glover 8th (69.44) 11th (123.500) 8th (71.83) Michael Hoey 33rd (81.360) 46th (72.73) Mastercard Rankings (March 24) 1. Clemson, 2. UNLV, 3. Texas, 4. Georgia Tech, 5. Oklahoma State, 6. Houston, 7. Georgia, 8. Florida, 9. Arizona State, 10. Washington.

Sagarin top 10 (March 24) 1. Clemson, 2. Georgia, 3. Georgia Tech, 4. Oklahoma State, 5. UNLV, 6. Houston, 7. Texas, 8. Arizona State, 9. Florida, 10. South Carolina

Clemson Captures Tigers Finish 4th at Golf Digest Collegiate Lucas Glover fired a career best six-under-par 66 to lead Clemson to a 278 team score on the final day and a fourth-place team finish at the Golf Digest Collegiate at Desert Inn Country Club in Las Vegas. The Tigers had the second lowest team round of the final day, but defending National Champion UNLV was two strokes better and won the tournament by four shots over Georgia.

UNLV had a team score of 855 to win the event, nine-under par. The host team had shot 298 on the first day, but finished with scores of 281 and 276 on the last two days over the course they play often during the season. Georgia had a 285 score on the final day, seven strokes more than the Tigers, but the team from Athens had an 859 score to finish second.

Oklahoma State, who has been to the NCAA National Tournament a record 52 consecutive years, was third at 862, one stroke better than the Tigers, who have been to the National event 17 consecutive years.

Georgia Tech finished fifth with an 870 score, the fifth consecutive tournament this year and ninth time in the last 10 over two years Clemson has beaten the second ranked Yellow Jackets. Arizona State was sixth at 878, while Texas was seventh at 879. New Mexico ranked eighth at 880, while top 10 Houston finished ninth at 882. Defending champion Virginia was 10th at 887. There were 15 teams in the field and 13 are ranked in the top 20 in the nation.

Glover showed consistent improvement over the course of the event and his 211 score for the event was fifth best overall, best among the Tigers. His 66 on Sunday tied for the best individual round of the entire tournament. He fired an incredible 29 on the back nine, including an eagle on the last hole. John Engler made a 10-stroke improvement over his second round and finished 14th after a final round 67 and a tournament score of 217.

Jonathan Byrd had a 71 on Sunday and finished 18th with a two-over-par 218. Senior Elliot Gealy, among the leaders after the first day, had a 74 on Sunday and was 36th at 222. Freshman Michael Hoey had an 80 on Sunday and was 57th with a 230 score.

Tigers Win San Juan Shootout John Engler fired a seven-under par 65 to take co-medalist honors and lead the Clemson golf team to the championship of the San Juan Shootout at the River Course at Rio Mar Country Club in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The victory was the fourth of the year in six tournaments for Larry Penley’s Tigers, who did nothing to hurt their #1 ranking in all three college golf polls.

Clemson won the event by four strokes over Georgia Tech (834). Georgia and East Tennessee State were tied for third at 858, six-under par. NC State was fifth at 860, while Texas was sixth at 870. North Carolina was seventh at 873, Duke was 10th at 888, Virginia 12th at 894, Wake Forest 13th at 898 and Florida State 15th at 903. The 18-team field included 10 of the top 25 teams in the nation.

Engler fired a 65 on Feb. 23rd to tie David Christensen of East Tennessee State. Engler had rounds of 70-70-65 for his 205 score, the lowest tournament of his career. His 65 was not a season low, as the native of Augusta, GA had a 64 in the second round of the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate. He did become the first Clemson golfer in history to have two rounds at 65 or better in the same year. It was the first victory of Engler’s career.

Clemson won the event with a 34-under team score, 830. That is a Clemson record for a 54-hole tournament score, breaking the record of 832 set earlier this fall at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate. It also broke the record for strokes under-par in a tournament. The previous best was -31 at the NCAA Championships last year.

All five Clemson golfers finished at four-under par or better for the event and all five finished in the top 12. Both of those accomplishments were Clemson firsts. Elliot Gealy, Clemson’s number-five golfer, shot a 71 on Tuesday and finished at five-under par 211. That was the best 54-hole score of his career by six shots. Lucas Glover tied Gealy for eighth place with a consistent 71-70-70 for a 211 score.

Jonathan Byrd won the team comeback award for the event. After an opening round 76, Byrd had rounds of 69 and 67 over the final two days for a 212 total, four-under par. He tied for 12th along with Clemson freshman Michael Hoey. The 12th-place finish ended Byrd’s string of top 10 finishes at five.

Clemson Takes Schenkel Invitational Statesboro, GAClemson overcame a five-stroke deficit entering the final round, then defeated Georgia on the second hole of a sudden death team playoff to claim the championship of the Chris Schenkel Invitational at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, GA.

The victory was Clemson’s fifth tournament title in eight events for the Tigers, who did nothing to hurt their consensus number-one ranking. The fifth victory of the year ties the Clemson record for tournament championships in a season. Clemson also won five tournaments in 1986-87 and in 1987-88. The 15-team field included seven of the top 20 teams in the nation.

Clemson shot a 291 on Sunday and had an 869 total for the 54 holes, the same score as Georgia, who had a 296 in the final round. Both teams counted four pars on the first extra hole, then Clemson won the event on the second extra hole.

Jonathan Byrd led the Tigers with a 69 in the final round and a fourth place overall ranking. It was his sixth top 10 finish in eight events this year and his final round 69 was his ninth round in the 60s this year. The native of Columbia is now -16 for his 24 rounds this season, best on the Clemson team.

Michael Hoey and Lucas Glover shot final round scores of 73 and both finished in the top 20 overall for the event. Hoey, a freshman from Ireland, finished 13th at the event with his 219 54-hole score, while Glover, a native of Greenville, and Wade Hampton High School, had a 221 score to rank 19th.

John Engler had a 76 on Sunday and finished 15th for the event with a 220 score. Jani Saari, playing in his first career tournament, shot a 79 in the final round for a 224 score and was 34th.

Clemson Travels to Carpet Classic Clemson will attempt to defend its Carpet Capital Classic Championship April 2-3 at the Farm Country Club in Dalton, GA. Clemson has won the event three of the last six years, including last year’s 855 team score. Clemson also won the event in 1996 and 1193. Clemson has competed in the event every year since 1993. The Tigers first appeared at the event in 1989, finishing third. Overall, this is Clemson’s 10th appearance at the Carpet Capital Classic. The Tigers have three championships and five total top three finishes in the previous nine appearances.

The Tigers had one of their best overall tournaments of the 1998 season as three Tigers finished in the top 10 and had under-par scores in the process. Lucas Glover led the way with a four-under-par 212 and he tied for medalist honors with Bryce Molder of Georgia Tech. Jonathan Byrd was fourth with a 214 score, while Joey Maxon was sixth with a 215. John Engler, who will be in the Clemson lineup this weekend, was 15th with a 220.