New Haven, CT--Brent Delahoussaye and Matt Hendrix each shot scores of two-over-par 72 on Friday to lead Clemson to a 291 team score and a tied for fourth place ranking after 36 holes of the NCAA East Regional at the Yale University Course in New Haven, CT. Clemson has a team score of 579 after two rounds, just four shots behind team leader Penn State, three in back of second place Florida, and two shots behind ACC rival North Carolina. The Tigers are tied with Georgia Tech for third at 579, while Georgia is fourth at 580.
The top 10 teams from the 27-team field advance to the NCAA Championships at the Homestead in Hot Springs, VA June 1-4. Clemson is nine strokes clear of the cutline entering the final 18 holes on Saturday. Clemson will have an early morning tee-time in the par 70 course on Saturday. The regional format has been played since 1989 and Clemson has never failed to make the cut for the finals. Clemson is the defending NCAA Champion and has had seven consecutive top 10 national tournament finishes.
Clemson got off to a strong start on Friday. Playing the back nine first, Clemson was one-under-par as a team at the turn and held the team lead in the tournament at seven over par. But, the four Tigers whose score counted on Friday shot 12-over-par on the front line, their final nine holes of the day, leading to an 11-over-par team score for the day.
Delahoussaye, who is Clemson's number-five player in the lineup for this event, but its top player through two rounds of this tournament, had five birdies on Friday, but had a double bogey on the ninth hole, his last hole of the day. He was actually two under for his round through his 15th hole, including a chip-in for a birdie on the third hole, his 12th of the day.
"I got off to a great start and still had it together through 15 holes," said Delahoussaye, who is playing in his first NCAA Tournament for Clemson. "But, I made some errors coming in. I hit my tee shot on the ninth hole (his final hole of the day) into the woods and made a double bogey. This is a very difficult golf course. Driving the ball in the fairway is very important because the rough is long. You have to be strong off the tee to score here." This is not Delahoussaye's first experience at an NCAA regional. As a freshman at South Carolina, he finished 19th in the West Regional with a 219 score on a par 72 course. He stands at 142 for his two rounds, tied for ninth on the individual list.
Hendrix also started strong, as he had four birdies within his first eight holes. However, he made a double bogey on the 18th hole, his ninth of the day. He then finished with a double bogey on the eighth hole when he drove the ball into heavy rough and then made a bogey on the ninth hole when he three-putted from a difficult position below the hole.
Gregg Jones had Clemson's third best score of the day with a 73. The graduate shot one-under-par for his first nine holes, the back nine, then played the front nine in four over par. He three-putted twice on his second nine after driving the ball in the middle of the fairway. Jones stands at 148 after two rounds. He has finished in the top 15 in each of his first three NCAA East Regional events.
Jack Ferguson, second to Hendrix on the year in stroke average, shot his second consecutive 74 on Friday. He had five bogeys and on birdie. He was the only Clemson player to at least shoot the same total over par on each nine, as he was two over on each side. He stands at 148 after two rounds.
Stephen Poole had a 76 on Friday and his score did not count towards the Clemson team score. He had seven bogeys and a birdie. Still his 146 total is tied with Hendrix for second among Clemson golfers for the first 36 holes.
"We let a lot of shots get away from us on the second nine holes of the day," said Clemson Head Coach Larry Penley. "This is a tough golf course, but we left a lot of shots out there. We need to improve on Saturday. It is a strong field that is really bunched together."
Clemson at NCAA East Regional
Brent Delahoussaye 70 72 142 +2 9th
Stephen Poole 70 76 146 +6 38th
Matt Hendrix 74 72 146 +6 38th
Jack Ferguson 74 74 148 +8 51st
Gregg Jones 75 73 148 +8 51st
Clemson 288 291 579 +19 4th