Defending Champion Clemson Chosen for 23rd Straight NCAA Tournament
Clemson, SC-Clemson received a bid to the NCAA East Regional at the
Yale University Course in New Haven, CT on Monday. It marks the 23rd
consecutive year that Clemson has been invited to the NCAA
Tournament, the longest streak of any sports program in Clemson
The regional tournament will run Thursday, May 20 through
Saturday, May 22nd. The top 10 teams in the 27-team field will
advance to the national championship, which will be held at The
Cascades Course at The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA. Clemson will be
the number-two seed in the East Regional behind number-one Florida.
Clemson has played the par 70, Yale University Course twice
previously in NCAA regional play. The Tigers finished fourth at the
1991 event, then won the East Regional in 1995. Clemson has won six
NCAA Regional tournaments altogether, more than any other school in
the nation. The regional tournament format has been in effect since
1989 and Clemson has qualified through regional play for the national
tournament every year.
Clemson's streak of 23 straight tournament bids is second to
Oklahoma State's 58. The Cowboys were also invited to the tournament
on Monday. Clemson won the championship at Oklahoma State's home
course last year, finishing two strokes better than the host school.
This is Larry Penley's 21st year as Clemson head coach and he
has taken the Tigers to the NCAA National tournament all 21 years.
Earlier this year Penley was inducted into the College Golf Hall of
Fame. His Tigers are ranked second in the nation in the latest
polls according to the Golf Coach's Association and the Sagarin
Clemson will be seeking its eighth straight top 10 finish
when it begins play in the NCAA East Regional. If Clemson can
finish in the top 10 it would break the school record for consecutive
top 10 finishes. In addition to the Clemson golf team's current
streak, the men's tennis program had seven straight top 10s from
1980-86 and the men's soccer team had a seven-year streak from
This year's Clemson team is coming off its best performance
of the year, a championship victory in the ACC tournament, the second
straight year Clemson has won that event. The Tigers have competed
in 12 tournaments (11 stroke play and one match play) and finished in
the top four 10 of those 12 events.
Leading the way from a stroke average standpoint is Matt
Hendrix. A May 2004 graduate and native of Aiken, SC, Hendrix has a
70.83 stroke average for his 29 rounds. He has scored under par in
19 of those 29 rounds, including a team best 11 rounds in the 60s. A
first-team All-ACC selection each of the last two years, Hendrix was
a finalist for the 2004 Ben Hogan Award.
Jack Ferguson, a junior from Seneca, has a 71.09 stroke
average this year for his 32 rounds of competition. Ferguson has
been Clemson's most consistent golfer with 10 top 20 finishes for his
11 events. He finished second at the ACC Tournament with a 206
score and third at the Atlanta Intercollegiate with a 208 total.
Ferguson, a second-team All-American last year, has a 71.97 career
stroke average, fourth best in Clemson history.
Gregg Jones is a third first-team All-ACC selection on this
year's team that will be competing in the NCAA regional. Jones has
been a starter on each of Clemson's last three teams and the Tigers
have finished in the top three all three years. He has a chance to
become the first athlete in any sport in Clemson history to play on
four different top three teams. Jones has a 72.84 stroke average
this year and a 72.67 average for his career.
Stephen Poole and Brian Duncan are a pair of sophomore who
will be in Penley's lineup. Poole has a 72.53 stroke average for his
five tournaments this year. He has three top 10 finishes on his
resume including a sixth-place finish at the ACC Tournament when he
had a career best tying 210 total. Duncan has played in eight
tournaments and has a 74.86 stroke average for the season. His score
counted towards the team total in two of the three rounds at the ACC