May 18, 2002
Roswell, GA – D.J. Trahan rolled in a six-foot par putt on the 18th hole, to bring Clemson into a first-place tie and co-championship honors at the NCAA East Regional at Settindown Creek Country Club in Roswell, GA on Saturday afternoon.
Trahan closed with a final round 71 and won the individual title by three strokes. Clemson finished in a tie with Georgia Tech at 876 for the team title. The NCAA holds regional tournaments as qualifiers for the national tournament, so there was no playoff for the team championship. The two ACC rivals will both claim the regional title.
All three regional championships ended with co-champions. Oklahoma State and Purdue tied for the Central Regional Championship, while New Mexico and Washington tied for the West Regional title. The top 10 teams in the 27 team field advance to the National Championship tournament at Ohio State May 29-June 1. In addition to Clemson and Georgia Tech, North Carolina (877), Augusta State (885), Virginia Commonwealth (888), Georgia Southern (891), Auburn (893), Georgia (896), Florida (899) and UAB (899) all advanced. The list of teams from the East who failed to advance included third ranked Wake Forest (900) and ninth ranked Tennessee (904).
It was the fifth regional championship for Clemson, all under Larry Penley. The Tigers also won a regional in 1993-94-95 and 2000. Clemson has more East Regional titles than any other school and now ties Arizona and Arizona State for the most regional championships regardless of area of the country. Trahan’s individual title was the first regional championship for a Clemson golfer since 1994 when Mark Swygert won the title at Auburn, AL.
Trahan finished with a 210 total for the three days, three shots better than Bob Cherry of North Carolina, who also shot a 71 on Saturday. Tyler McKeever of Georgia Southern and Brandt Snedeker of Vanderbilt were tied for third at 214. Those were the only players in the 141 player field who broke par over the three days.
It was the third win of the year for Trahan, who also won the Carpet Classic and the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate in the fall. He became the first Clemson player to win three tournaments in the same academic year. The victory was his ninth top 10 finish of the year, also a Clemson single season record.
“It was a scrambling round,” said Trahan, who had three birdies and two bogeys in the round. “I did not drive the ball that well, but I was able to get up and down, that was the key.” Trahan hit his second shot on the par four 18th hole into a trap at the right of the green. He exploded to within six feet past the hole, then made the putt coming back.
“I did not know that I needed to make the last putt to tie the team championship,” said Trahan. “I looked at the scoreboard coming up the 18th fairway, but the scores were behind. I just wanted to get up and down and do the best I could.”
Trahan’s round included a birdie at the par five 16th hole. He hit his approach shot to within two feet of the cup, then made the putt. Another highlight of the round came on the par four 13th hole. He drove the ball into the woods. He faded a 150-yard shot around a tree onto the green, then two putted to save par.
“D.J. Trahan proved again why he is the best player in the country,” said Clemson Head Coach Larry Penley. “In Clemson we call it the Eye of the Tiger. He has it. He has been doing that since he was 13 years old.”
Trahan was the only Tiger to break 75 on Saturday. The course proved to be very difficult as the wind was swirling most of the day. Sophomore Gregg Jones shot a 76 to finish with a 220 score and a 13th place finish.
Martin Catalioto and Matt Hendrix both had rounds of 76 that counted towards Clemson’s team total. Hendrix double bogeyed the first two holes, then played even par golf the rest of the way. He had an eagle three on the 16th hole and that proved to be very important coming down the stretch. Ben Duncan shot a 77 on Saturday, but his 225 total for the 54 holes was second behind Trahan and Jones among Clemson golfers.
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