Top Clemson Pro Performances

June 22, 2009

Lucas Glover won the United States Open on June 22, 2009 at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, NY. It must rank as the top professional accomplishment in a major championship, all-star or international competition by a former Clemson athlete after they left Clemson.

Top 10 Accomplishments by former Clemson Athletes at Professional championship or Olympic Championships.

1. Lucas Glover, 2009 US Open Champion Glover shot a four under par 276 to defeat Phil Mickelson, Ricky Barnes and Ross Fisher by two shots. He also beat Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer of all time, by four shots. It was the first Major championship for a Clemson golfer.

2. Jimmy Key, 1996 World Series Key won the deciding sixth game of the 1996 World Series for the New York Yankees against the Atlanta Braves. Key defeated future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux as he allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings as the starter. It gave the Yankees their first World Series title since 1978.

3. Dwight Clark, 1981 NFC Championship Game Clark made a leaping catch of a pass from Joe Montana in the final minute of the 49ers victory over Dallas in the NFC Championship game in San Francisco. It was a play that sent San Francisco to its first Super Bowl, a game it eventually won. Clark’s catch arguable started a dynasty.

4. Jimmy Key, 1992 World Series Key won the deciding sixth game of the 1992 World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched the 10th and 11th games in relief leading Toronto to the victory over the Atlanta Braves.

5. Shawn Crawford, 2004 Olympics Crawford won the Gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece in a time of 19.79.

6. Horace Grant, 1993 NBA World Championship Grant had two game deciding plays in four seconds in game six of the 1993 NBA World Championship against Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns. Grant threw a pass to John Paxson, who made a three-point shot to put the Bulls ahead. On the Suns last possession, Grant then blocked Kevin Johnson’s shot, securing the victor and the World Championship for the Bulls.

7. Julie Coin, 2008 US Open Tennis Coin was ranked 188 in the world, but pulled off the upset of the world’s number-one ranked player, Ana Ivanovic, in the second round of the 2008 United States Open tennis championships in New York. She won the match 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to become the first unseeded player to upset the number-one seed in the first round of the US Open.

8. Billy O’Dell, 1958 Major League All-Star Game O’Dell won MVP honors at the Major League All-star game in 1958 in Baltimore. Pitching in his home ballpark he retired nine consecutive batters over the last three innings to give the American League the victory. Among the nine National League batters he retired were five future Hall of Fame players: Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks and Bill Mazeroski

9. William Perry, 1986 Super Bowl William Perry had a noteworthy rookie year in the NFL as he helped the Chicago Bears the Super Bowl Championship. He played as a starting defensive tackle on offense and scored a fourth quarter touchdown on a one-yard run, the only touchdown scored in the Super Bowl by a former Clemson player.

10. Gigi Fernandez, 1997 Wimbledon Fermandez won her 17th grand-slam doubles title, her fourth Wimbledon when she teamed with Natasha Zvereva to defeat Nicole Arendt and Manon Bollsgraf, 7-6, 6-4 in the Wimbledon doubles title.