Top-Ranked Tigers Open Season At The Ridges Intercollegiate

Sept. 10, 1999

CLEMSON, S.C. – Number-one ranked Clemson will open its 1999-2000 golf season Saturday at the Bank of Tennessee/The Ridges Intercollegiate in Jonesborough, TN.

Clemson is the defending champion in the event, which will be played on the par 72, 7,038-yard Ridges Golf Course. The tournament will be held over two days. The teams will play 36 holes on Saturday and 18 on Sunday.

Of the 15 teams participating, seven are ranked in the preseason top 25. In addition to the number-one ranked Tigers, South Carolina (10), North Carolina (13), East Tennessee State (18), NC State (20), Auburn (22) and Texas Christian (24). Other teams in the field are UAB, Arizona, LSU, Oklahoma, Purdue, Tennessee, Virginia and Wake Forest.

Clemson won the event last year and moved into the number-one ranking after the victory. The Tigers had a three-round total of 844, 20-under par. Current Clemson senior Jonathan Byrd won the event, but he will not be back to defend his title. Byrd will be participating for the United States team in the Walker Cup in Scotland this weekend.

Clemson will still send a strong team to The Ridges this weekend. Returning All-Americans John Engler and Lucas Glover will lead the Tigers. Both are in their third season as starters. Engler earned All-America honors as a sophomore last year and is ranked eighth in the nation in the Mastercard preseason rankings. Glover finished eighth in the NCAA Tournament last year and is 16th in the preseason rankings.

Jani Saari, who moved into the starting lineup at the end of last season, will be playing for the Tigers this weekend. The native of Greenville was Clemson’s best performer at the NCAA national event last year with a 300 score and 23rd-place finish, helping the Tigers to a number-eight team ranking.

Clemson’s other two players in the lineup this weekend will be making their first career appearances, respectively. Ben Duncan is a red-shirt freshman from Traveler’s Rest, while Ben Johnson is a red-shirt junior from Clayton, NC.