March 6, 2001
Second-ranked Clemson will travel to Las Vegas March 9-11 for the Callaway Golf Las Vegas Intercollegiate at the Rio Secco Golf Course. The Rees Jones designed course that was opened in 1997 is a par 72 listed at 7,332 yards, the longest course Clemson has played on record. This is a different course from previous Las Vegas Intercollegiates. In the past it has been held at Desert Inn Country Club.
The 20th ranked UNLV squad will play host to the event, which will feature 18 holes per day March 9, 10 and 11th. The 14-team field includes 13 teams that are currently ranked in the top 25 of the latest Golf World College Golf Poll. That includes each of the top six teams in the nation. Once again, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Georgia are expected to battle it out for the team honors. The other teams who will be in the field are Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, New Mexico, NC State, Florida, Arizona State, TCU, Houston, Minnesota and Kent State.
Arizona State defeated Oklahoma State and Minnesota in a two-hole team playoff last year. The Tigers finished sixth as a team with an 850 score, but then freshman D.J. Trahan won the event with a 207 score. He defeated Matt Brost of Texas in a three-hole playoff.
The Tigers will take a lineup of three seniors, a sophomore and a freshman to Las Vegas this weekend, the same lineup they used in finishing second at the Puerto Rico Classic Feb. 25-27.
Clemson, ranked second in MasterCard and third by the Golfweek/Sagarin Poll and Golf World, will be playing in its eighth team tournament of the year. The Tigers have seven straight finishes in at least the top five. That includes one first-place finish, two seconds and two thirds.
Clemson features seniors Lucas Glover, John Engler and Jani Saari in its lineup for Las Vegas. Glover is coming off medalist honors at the Puerto Rico Classic and has a 70.15 average for the year, a Clemson single season record pace. Engler has a 70.70 stroke average for the year and has three top five finishes, including a fifth-place at Puerto Rico. Saari shot a 231 at Puerto Rico in his third tournament of the year. He is a veteran of two NCAA National Tournaments, where his score has counted seven of eight rounds.
D.J. Trahan, who finished 15h at Puerto Rico and closed with consecutive under-par rounds for the last 36 holes, will also be in the lineup as defending champion. Freshman Gregg Jones, who has a 73.25 stroke average for the year, will also be in the lineup.
Clemson’s History in Las Vegas Clemson has struggled over the years in tournaments played in Las Vegas. Clemson finished sixth last year at the Las Vegas Intercollegiate, tied for its worst finish of the year outside of the NCAA Tournament, where Clemson was seventh in a 30-team field. Clemson finished fourth in Las Vegas in 1998 and 1999. Clemson’s top finish at the event was in 1997 when it was third out of 15 teams.
Of all the tournaments Clemson plays this year, the Las Vegas Intercollegiate is the only one that Clemson has failed to win or finish at least second at one time or another. Clemson did have the individual champion at the event last year, as D.J. Trahan won medalist honors in a playoff with Matt Brost of Texas.
Glover Wins Puerto Rico Classic Lucas Glover shot a closing round 67 and went on to a five-stroke victory at the Puerto Rico Classic Feb. 25-27 at Rio Mar Resort and Country Club. Glover had a 54-hole score of 205, 11-under par. It was the third tournament title for Glover at Clemson. He also won at the Carpet Classic in Dalton, GA in April of 1998 and won the Mauna Kea Invitational in Hawaii in November of 1998. So, he had gone over two years without a college tournament championship.
Glover’s victory was by five shots, the largest margin of victory on record for a Clemson golfer in any tournament. The previous record that has been found in the Clemson archives was four strokes on many occasions, most recently by Charles Warren at the 1997 ACC Tournament. Glover’s victory at Puerto Rico this year came against a strong field. He was seven shots better than Bryce Molder of Georgia Tech and nine shots better than Luke Donald of Northwestern. The 76-player field posted just four players under par and just nine at par or better.
Glover had scores of 68-70-67 in gaining the victory. His 70 in the second round included six birdies and an eagle. His 67 in the final round tied for the best round by any player in the tournament. Wilhelm Schauman of Minnesota had a 67 on the final day and finished second at 210. Glover had a wire-to-wire lead after he shot 68 the opening day. His final round saw him record six birdies between the fourth and 15th holes. He had 18 birdies for the 54 holes.
Clemson lost the team aspect of the tournament by just one stroke. Georgia Tech and Clemson both shot 282 scores on the final day. Tech finished at three-under-par, 861, while the Tigers finished at 862, two-under. Minnesota was third at 865 and Georgia was fourth at 869.
Glover got plenty of support from consistent D.J. Trahan shot a 78 in the opening round, but finished strong with rounds of 70 and 71. His 219 score was good enough for 15th. Freshman Jani Saari finished at 231 and was 59th.
Tigers Have 87 Percent Winning Mark Clemson has a record of 72-10-2 against all competition so far this year. These stats count just the six previous team scored events and not the match play event in the fall. Clemson’s winning percentage is .869.
The Tigers have faced 37 different teams on its national schedule and Clemson has a losing record against just one team. The Tiges are 2-3 against Georgia Tech, but there is just a one-stroke difference between the two top ranked teams over five tournaments. Clemson is 3-2 against Georgia so far this year.
As far as other top ranked schools, Clemson is 2-1 vs. South Carolina, 3-0 vs. Arizona State, 3-0 vs Arizona, 4-0 vs. Houston, 2-0 vs. Minnesota, 3-0 vs. Northwestern, 2-1 vs. Oklahoma State, 3-0 vs. UNLV and 2-0 vs. Oklahoma.
Clemson had an 85 percent winning percentage last year (156-26-3). The only teams with a winning record against Clemson last year were Texas (1-3) and Georgia Tech (3-6).
Last Year at Las Vegas Freshman D.J. Trahan (Inman, SC, Dorman HS) fired a final round 66, then won a three-hole playoff against Matt Brost of Texas to win medalist honors at the prestigious Las Vegas Intercollegiate. The event was held at the Desert Inn Country Club in Las Vegas, the same course that plays host to a PGA event.
Clemson finished sixth as a team, but the Tigers were just two shots from the winning score. It was one of the closest team races in Clemson golf history. Arizona State won the event in a playoff with Oklahoma State and Minnesota. All three teams shot 848 for the event. Texas and Georgia Tech tied for fourth at 849, just a shot back. Clemson was sixth at 850. Defending NCAA Champion Georgia was seventh at 860. Houston and host school UNLV were eight at 868, while New Mexico and North Carolina were 10th at 869. Florida was 12th at 874, Virginia 13th at 876 and South Carolina last at 883.
Trahan won the tournament against a field that included 10 of the top 20 teams in the nation and 10 of the top 25 individuals in the nation. The field included former US Amateur Champion Matt Kuchar, reigning US Amateur Champion David Gossett of Texas, 1998 NCAA Champion James McLean of Minnesota and Bryce Molder of Georgia Tech, the current number-one ranked player in the nation.
Trahan won the event with a 207 score for the 54 holes. He tied the Clemson record for lowest tournament score by a freshman and for best score versus par by a freshman. His nine-under par tied the freshman record also held by Chris Patton, who shot a -9 at the Gamecock Invitational in 1997.
Trahan had rounds of 73-68-66 for the tournament. The 66 was the best competitive round by a Clemson freshman since Charles Warren shot a 66 at the Wofford Invitational in 1995. He was just the third freshman in Clemson history to shoot a 66 or better. The 66 was the low round of the entire tournament by any individual.
Clemson shot a 277 score as a team on Sunday, its second best team round of the year and the best score of the day by four strokes. The Tigers trailed by 16 strokes entering the final day and came within two shots of the title.
Helping Trahan was junior Lucas Glover, who fired a 67 on the final day. John Engler had a 74 and Ben Duncan shot a 76 to round out Clemson’s five players.
Byrd finished with a 211 score for the event, a seventh-place finish, the 23rd top 10 finish of his Clemson career. Glover and Engler finished 35th with 219 scores, while Ben Duncan finished 67th with a 228 score. Glover, a native of Greenville, struggled in the first two rounds with scores of 77-75 before he caught fire on Sunday.
Clemson Player/Team Rankings Clemson is ranked second in the latest MasterCard rankings and third in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Those are the exact opposite rankings the Tigers had to finish the 1999-00 academic year. After the NCAAs, where Clemson finished seventh, the Tigers were second according to Sagarin and third according to MasterCard.
Obviously, the Tigers are in a challenging area of the country when it comes to college golf. According to both polls, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech and South Carolina comprise the top four teams in the nation. Georgia is number-one in both polls. All four schools are within 2 hours drive of Clemson. Texas is rankd fifth in both polls, followed by defending national champion Oklahoma State and New Mexico.
Individually, D.J. Trahan is 87th.
In the latest United States Amateur rankings, Trahan is fourth, while Glover is 12th and Engler is 48th.
Glover/Engler Among Clemson’s Best Clemson seniors Lucas Glover and John Engler are among the top golfers in Clemson history in many areas. Both have had amazing careers and are very similar statistically. For instance, Engler is first in Clemson history in stroke average at 71.89, while Glover is second at 71.92. Both have 18 top 10 finishes. Glover has 27 rounds in the 60s, while Engler has 25. Engler has 57 rounds under par, while Glover has 55.
Below is a quick rundown on how each ranks in various areas and their major accomplishments thus far.
Clemson’s D.J. Trahan Wins US Amateur Public Links TitleJuly 15, 2000 Qualifying medalist D.J. Trahan, 19, of Inman, S.C. and Clemson University overcame a gutsy charge from Ben “Bubba” Dickerson, 19, of Hilliard, Fla., to win the 36-hole match play final of the 2000 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Heron Lakes in 37 holes.
The 37-hole match tied for the longest in the 75-year history of the championship. It had happened six times previously.
Trahan became the second Clemson player to win this tournament. Kevin Johnson, now a regular on the PGA Tour, won the event in 1988. Johnson also was a finalist in 1989. However, in those days, winning the Public Links did not bring an invitation to the Masters.
His victory made him the first Amateur Public Links medalist to win the title since David Berganio in 1993. Ironically, the medalist has won the championship in all three of the Amateur Public Links’ visits to Portland — 1979 (Dennis Walsh at West Delta G.C. now Heron Lakes), 1990 (Michael Combs at Eastmoreland), and now Trahan at Heron Lakes.
Trahan made four birdies and hit seven fairways and 12 greens during the first 18 holes at the 6,869-yard, par 72 yard Great Blue Course to take a 3-up lead into the final 18 holes of the match.
The 2000 Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year in his freshman season at Clemson, Trahan built his advantage to 4-up after 25 holes with a 28-foot birdie putt on No.7. After three successive halved holes with par, Trahan’s lead disappeared.
Dickerson, a rising sophomore at Florida, won three consecutive holes as Trahan bogeyed Nos. 11, 12 and 13. Trahan actually made four straight bogeys but his 5 on the par-4 14th halved the hole.
The slender Clemson player won the 16th with a par to go 2-up. Dickerson then holed a 15-foot putt >from the collar to save par on the 17th to win the hole, closing the gap to 1-down. He followed with a clutch downhill, 8-foot birdie putt to win the 18th and even the match after 36 holes. Trahan then parred the 37th hole with two putts while Dickerson made bogey.
“I honestly didn’t have control of the match,” Trahan said. “He had to make the putt on 17 and he had to make the putt on 18. He was in control of his own destiny there and he made two great putts. He was trying to take the match from me, is what it came down to.
“I made four bogeys in a row as just as soon as I’m 4-up, I’m 1-up. If I could have kept the ball in play and hit some better shots, I could have been dormie on the 15th or 16th.
Trahan was the first alternate from the Greenville, S.C. qualifying site. When an exempt player, Jedd McLuen, who had qualified for the U.S. Open, declined his invitation to the championship, Trahan was called and he accepted.
Trahan Wins Jones Cup Sophomore D.J. Trahan gained a five-shot victory at the inaugural Jones Cup Invitational Feb. 11 at Ocean Forest Golf Club at Sea Island, GA. Trahan had rounds of 67-67-76 in scoring a 210 for the victory. He had a 10-shot lead heading into the final day, but shot 76 in the windy and cold conditions.
The field included some of the top amateurs in the world. Two other Tigers had top 10 finishes. Lucas Glover fired an even par 216 with rounds of 70-71-75, and finished third, while John Engler had rounds of 71-73-76 to finish at 220, good enough for eighth place.
Trahan to Compete in 2001 Master’s By virtue of his victory at the 2000 United States Public Links Tournament last July, D.J. Trahan will compete in the 2001 Masters in Augusta, GA on April 5-8. Trahan will be just the second Tiger to play in the event while he was a Clemson student. Chris Patton made the cut, was the low amateur and finished 39th overall at the 1990 Masters. He had won the 1989 United States Amateur to receive the invitation.
The first former Tiger to play in the Masters was Parker Moore. He played in the 1977 Master’s after finishing in the runnerup spot at the 1976 United States Amateur. Dilliard Pruitt played in the 1992 and 1993 Masters, the only Clemson player to participate in two Masters. He won the 1991 Chattanooga Classic and that got him the 1992 invitation. He finished 13th that year, the highest finish by a Clemson golfer and that got him the invitation for 1993. Danny Ellis played in the 1994 Masters as an amateur after hif finished as the 1993 US Amateur runnerup. Ellis is now on the PGA Tour. Clarence Rose, a 16-year veteran of the PGA, played in the 1997 Masters.
Clemson Schedule World WideWhere the Tigers Play Clemson’s 13-tournament schedule for the 2000-01 academic year includes two trips to Florida, and tournament dates in Las Vegas, Puerto Rico and Mexico. For the academic year, Clemson will travel over 18,000 miles to compete in these national events. Clemson’s tournaments will see an average of 10 top 25 teams per tournament.
Clemson opened its season September 9-10, at The Ridges Intercollegiate in Johnson City, TN. Clemson then played at the Ping Preview September 24-26 against a field that included 15 of the top 25 teams in the nation.
Another highlight of the fall was Clemson’s participation in the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate at the Old Overton Course in Birmingham, AL. Clemson has now won this event four consecutive years against another national field. The fall schedule concluded November 11-12 with the Rolex Match Play Tournament at West Bay Club in Florida. This was the only match-play format tournament on Clemson’s schedule.
The spring season will begin in Puerto Rico at the Rio Mar Country Club. Clemson will also travel to Las Vegas and Mexico in the spring before finishing the regular season at the ACC Tournament at the Disney Golf Complex in Orlando.
This year’s NCAA national tournament will take place at Duke University in Durham, NC. Clemson has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since 1982 and has finished in the top 10 in the nation a school record four straight years.
As usual, it is a challenging schedule for Clemson, but that is the way Penley and his players like it. “We truly play a national schedule and have for many years,” said Penley. “Over the last four years we have played in Puerto Rico, Ireland, Las Vegas, New Mexico, Mexico, Florida, Minnesota, Illinois, Rhode Island…you name it and we go there.
“It is a great educational experience for our players. We see this country and the world, and there are great benefits to the process. It is a maturing experience for these young men.
“Certainly a highlight of this year’s schedule is a return trip to Mexico for the Ford US Collegiate. For the second year in a row it will be televised by ESPN on the weekend of the Master’s. While D.J. Trahan is playing at Augusta, we will be in Mexico. It will bring great exposure to our program and will be a challenging 12-team field once again.
“The ACC Tournament will be played in Orlando at the Disney Golf Complex as part of the ACC’s Spring Sports Jamboree. That will be a great trip for our team and it will be a interesting to be around athletes in other ACC sports, almost an Olympic style experience.
“The NCAA regionals are in Williamsburg, VA, then the national tournament is at Duke. This is the second year in a row the NCAA national tournament is within driving distance of Clemson. We had a lot of fans come to Auburn last year, but I think there will be even more at Duke, because that is ACC country. There should be great crowds for the event that will close our season.”
Penley Has won 46 Tournaments You can easily make a case that Larry Penley is the most successful coach in Clemson athletics history. That certainly is the case when it comes to consistency. The Tigers have been to the NCAA national tournament all 17 years he has been at Clemson, something only Oklahoma State and Arizona State can also claim on the national scene. That is a level of consistency that no Clemson coach, not Frank Howard, Danny Ford, Bill Wilhelm or any other Clemson has attained.
Clemson has 14 top 20 finishes, 12 top 15 finishes and seven top 10s in this period of time. That includes an active streak of four straight top 10s, the first Clemson program to do that since the men’s and women’s track teams had a run of four in a row from 1980-84.
Individually, Clemson has had 11 top 10 NCAA Tournament finishes in Penley’s career. That includes the NCAA Championship by Charles Warren in 1997, and his number-two finish in 1998. Joey Maxon also finished in the top 10 that year, while Lucas Glover finished eighth in 1999.
On a regional basis, Clemson has been outstanding in the top golf conference in the nation. Clemson has won the ACC Championship three of the last four years, and has had four NCAA East Regional titles in, more than any other school. In fact, only Arizona (with five), has more regional titles than Clemson since the regional format of the NCAA Tournament came into play in 1989.
Penley has been honored for his success in the ACC, winning the ACC Coach of the Year honors three of the last five years and six years overall. He was the first coach in ACC history to win this award three consecutive years (1996-97-98). He has six ACC championships to his credit, second on the all-time list of ACC mentors.
Penley, along with Mike Holder of Oklahoma State, are the only coaches in the nation to take a program to the NCAA national tournament each of the last 17 years. Overall, Penley has won 46 tournament titles entering the spring of 2001. His Clemson program has ranked in the top 10 in the nation in every poll each of the last five years, in the top five in every poll each of the last four years.
The last four seasons have seen Clemson enhance its status of one of the top college programs in the nation. Clemson has finished third, second, eighth and seventh in the last four years, respectively. Individually, Clemson has seen Charles Warren win the NCAA National Championship in a thrilling playoff over Brad Elder of Texas in 1997 and D.J.Trahan win the US Public Links title in the summer of 2000. Penley also coached 1989 United States Amateur Champion Chris Patton and 1987 United States Public Links Champion Kevin Johnson.
Four Former Tigers Qualify for PGA Tour Four former Clemson golfers, including three former Tiger All-Americans who played for current Head Coach Larry Penley, have earned their PGA Tour Card for the 2001 season. The four Tigers all finished in the top 27 of the Qualifying school event, which was played over six days at the Jack Nicklaus PGA West Course in LaQuinta, CA. The top 35 finishers in the event qualified for the 2001 PGA Tour.
The four former Tigers who made the cut and will compete on the PGA Tour this coming year are Kevin Johnson, Richard Coughlan, Danny Ellis and Jeff Julian. The first three were All-Americans at Clemson, while Julian tried out for the Clemson team in the early 1980s, he never played in a regular season event at Clemson.
Johnson has been a professional since 1990, but this will be the first year he has qualified for the PGA Tour. He finished fifth in the qualifying school tournament, firing rounds of 70-67-65-64-70-69 for a 405 total. Johnson’s six-round tournament featured 34 birdies and three eagles. Johnson played for the Tigers from 1985-89 and was ACC Champion in 1988.
Coughlan finished eighth with a 409 total for the six days, 23-under-par. He posted rounds of 66-69-65-69-68-72. This will be Coughlan’s second year on the PGA Tour. He made it through qualifying school in 1998, the year after he graduated from Clemson and finished 151st on the money list. Coughlan was an All-American in 1996 and 1997 and was named ACC Co-Player of the Year as a senior.
Danny Ellis, an All-American for the Tigers in 1993, finished 27th at the PGA Tour Q School with a 416 total, 16-under-par. Ellis had rounds of 69-67-71-71-71-67. He needed that five under-par final round to make the top 35 cut with one stroke to spare. This will be his first year on tour.
Julian also finished 27th with a 416 total. The native of Vermont had rounds of 67-70-68-72-68-71. This will be his second year on the PGA Tour. He also qualified in 1996 after a top 30 finish at the Q school of 1995. His highest PGA Tour finish is 16th at the 1996 Buick Classic. He has played in two US Opens, 1990 and 1995.
Jonathan Byrd, a three-time All-American who was a member of the 2000 Clemson team, advanced to the final stage of qualifying school, but did not get his card. He will be playing on the buy.com tour this year. Joining him will be former Tigers Charles Warren and Tommy Biershenk. Biershenk was 29th on the buy.com tour in 2000, while Warren finished 41st.
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