March 20, 2003
Clemson’s number-one ranked men’s golf team will travel to Statesboro, GA this weekend for the Chris Schenkel E-Z-GO Invitational. The two-day, 54-hole event will be held March 22-23 at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, GA. Georgia Southern will be the host school at the par 72 course.
The 15-team event will feature 10 of the top 25 teams in the nation. Fourteen of the 15 are from the southeast as Ohio State is the only school participating from outside this area. The field also includes ACC schools Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest. SEC schools participating include Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Clemson will make its 14th appearance in the event that dates to the spring of 1971. Clemson has won the tournament twice, in 1988 and 1999. Kevin Johnson is the only individual champion from Clemson. The current member of the Nationwide Tour won the event in 1988, the same year Clemson won the team title. Other past individual champions include current professionals Curtis Strange, Robert Wrenn, Gary Hallberg, Hal Sutton, and Scott Verplank. Augusta State won the tournament last year, while the Tigers finished sixth. That is Clemson’s only finish outside the top five in its last 18 events dating to the season opener of the 2001-02 season. D.J. Trahan was Clemson’s top competitor last year at the Schenkel with a 215 finish, good enough for fifth place.
Trahan will return for the event this year, his fourth appearance at the Schenkel. He has shot under par in each of his previous three appearances, including a 212 score as a sophomore in March of 2001. He is six-under-par for his previous nine rounds at the Forest Heights Country Club.
Trahan is ranked second in the nation in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and is the highest ranked player in the field of 75 golfers. He is seeking to break Chris Patton’s Clemson record for tournament victories in a career. Both have five. Trahan won the Mercedes Benz Collegiate on Feb. 18 with a 211 score and has four consecutive top 10 finished this year. He has 22 top 10s in his career and needs six more to break Kevin Johnson’s career record.
Also in the Clemson lineup this weekend will be junior Matt Hendrix, currently ranked 12th in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, and sophomore Jack Ferguson, ranked 16th by the same service. Gregg Jones is ranked 39th this week and the junior All-American will hope to show the same talent he demonstrated two tournaments ago when he finished third at the Puerto Rico Classic. Rounding out the Clemson lineup will be freshman Brian Duncan. He will be making his first appearance as a Tiger in a stroke play tournament. He played for the Tigers in the Collegiate match play event in November, helping Clemson to a second place finish.
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