Clemson Starts Defense of ACC Golf Title on Friday


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Clemson, SC-Clemson will begin defense of its ACC golf championship
on Friday morning at The Old North State Club in New London, SC.
The Tigers, ranked second in the nation in the latest coach's poll
and Sagarin computer ranking, won the event last year at the same
course by one shot over Wake Forest. The Old North State Club at
Uwharrie Point is a par 72 layout that is 7100 yards in length.


Clemson will be paired with Duke and Wake Forest for the
first round. Maryland will be paired with Florida State and
Virginia, while NC State, North Carolina and Georgia Tech will be
playing in the same groups. This is the eighth time that the Old
North State Club has served as host of the ACC tournament. Clemson
has won three of the previous seven ACC Tournaments (1998, 2000,
2003) played there.


Clemson is considered the favorite based on its national
ranking and its 31-3 record in head-to-head competition against other
ACC teams so far this year. However, Duke has finished higher in
the final standings in each of the last two tournaments the teams
have competed. Duke is also coming off a victory in its most recent
tournament.


Clemson has three players returning who experienced the team
victory at The Old North State Club last year. The list of returning
ACC champions is led by Matt Hendrix, one of 10 semifinalist for
this year's Ben Hogan Award. Hendrix has a 71.0 stroke average and
has already won two tournaments this year, the Puerto Rico Classic
and the Augusta State Invitational.


Jack Ferguson was Clemson's top player at the ACC Tournament
last year when he fired a two-under-par 214 score to finish third.
His birdie putt on the last hole gave Clemson the championship by one
shot. The junior from Seneca has a 71.34 stroke average so far this
year and has finished in the top 20 in nine of his 10 tournaments,
more than any other Tiger.


Gregg Jones will be competing in his fourth ACC Tournament.
The senior from Florence, SC 11th at the 2002 ACC Tournament when
he shot a four-under-par 212 total. Jones ranks seventh in Clemson
history in career stroke average and has a 72.86 average so far this
year for 10 events. This will be his 47th career tournament at
Clemson.


Stephen Poole and Brian Duncan are two first-time performers
for the Tigers at the ACC Tournament. Poole, a sophomore from
Spartanburg, has a 73.17 stroke average for four events this year.
He has a pair of top 10 finishes, including a sixth place at the
Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, GA in March when he was
Clemson's top performer with a 216 figure. Classmate Brian Duncan
has a 75.21 stroke average so far this year. His brother, Ben
Duncan, played in the ACC Tournament for the Tigers last season.

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