May 30, 2003
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Quotes From the 2003 National Champions
Clemson Head Coach Larry Penley “I knew what we were doing on the front and it wasn’t real good. I knew what Oklahoma State was doing and it wasn’t real good. I kept waiting on Wake Forest, Florida or UCLA to jump up on the leaderboard and it never happened. They were making as many blunders as we were. Once it settled in to being a survival day it was just a matter of hanging on. We just tried to hang on scrap and scrap and scrap.”
On importance of turnaround at ninth hole “That was a big hole for us, I don’t think there was any question about it. On a day like today, at this golf course, if you can make a birdie, it just turns momentum on your side. The ninth hole was huge for us. We got off to a horrible start, again. To make four birdies there really turned it around. We really did that all week.”
How special is this after 20 years? “It has not sunk in yet, and won’t until we get back home. We have had some good teams and could have won this darn thing three or four times with any kind of break at all. I can promise you it was worth waiting for. I hope it is not 20 years before we do this again. This is fun.
Clemson Junior Gregg Jones “It was a grind from the very beginning. I had gotten off to bad starts all three days and finally got off to a good start. We just had to grind it out and hang on. Every shot counted and I was not going to give up. I gave it my all, all day long.”
On watching the scoreboard as the day progressed “I have to say that I did. I like to know where we stand. It doesn’t bother me if we are behind.”
On Jack Ferguson clinching championship on 18 “With a wedge and a putter in his hand I was not worried at all. He is very reliable from 100 yards in.”
On Winning National Championship “I don’t know if I can put it into words. It is huge for Clemson University and our team. This is my third NCAA and we had been so close every time, knocking on the door (second and third his previous two years). We had a ton of pressure on us, being number-one all year. It is just a great feeling.”
Clemson Sophomore Jack Ferguson Did you know the team score before your second shot on 18 “I knew the situation. I knew we had a three-shot lead and all we needed was par. It did remind me of number-18 at the ACC Championship, but I was a little more nervous. I needed a birdie on that 18th hole, this was just a par, but it was for the National Championship.
On winning the first golf National Championship at Clemson “It means a lot, because it is the first one. That is always special. It really means a lot because of Coach Penley. He deserves this.”
On playing the last group with a large Oklahoma State crowd “I enjoy playing in front of a large group. I believe it makes me play better. It really makes me concentrate.”
Clemson Senior D.J. Trahan “I came back for my senior year because I enjoy school, I enjoy going to Clemson, but this is the main reason I came back. I wanted to know what this felt like and the only way I would know is if we won. This is just as good as it gets. I’m not going to kid you, there was a lot of pressure. This is a tough golf course. Coming down the stretch you just have to pull it together. We did that today. We played fantastic.
On Jack Ferguson clinching championship on 18 “Jack (Ferguson) struggled a little on 17 and everyone started wondering. I never did. We had a three-shot lead with one to go. When hit that nice little lay-up I knew we had this thing.”
Senior Ben Duncan “This is the way to go out. A lot of hard work got us to this point. I’m just glad it paid off.
“I think this is going to be the springboard to lots to come. All we need to do is get over the hump. These guys are going to realize it is hard, but not that hard. We probably should have won four or five by now.
On playing the final day with Oklahoma State “The people out there were pulling for the other color orange, that is for sure. Any time you come in and play a great team on their home turf you can expect a challenge. That just makes it sweeter.”
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