Clemson will be making its 23rd straight trip to the NCAA
National Tournament this year, the longest string of any Clemson
athletic team in history. The Tigers qualified for the national
tournament by virtue of its victory at the NCAA East Regional May
20-22. The top 10 teams advanced for that regional and the Tigers
did so with ease, winning the event by six shots over Penn State.
Clemson's streak of 23 straight tournament bids is second to
Oklahoma State's 58. The Cowboys are also in the field of 30 teams,
having qualified after finishing second at the Central Regional to
Clemson will begin defense of its national championship at
the par 70, 6679-yard Cascades Course at The Homestead with tee times
starting at 12 noon on Tuesday, June 1 and starting at 7:00 AM on
Wednesday, June 2. Tee times for the final two rounds are based on
team standings at that point in the tournament.
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.
His Tigers are ranked second in the nation in the latest polls
according to the Golf Coach's Association and the Sagarin Computer
This year's Clemson team is finishing strong, having won the
ACC Tournament and the East Regional in its last two outings. The
Tigers have competed in 13 tournaments (12 stroke play and one match
play) and finished in the top four 11 of those 13 events. Among the
top four finishes was a third-place standing out of 15 teams at The
Preview on September 22-23, 2003.
Leading the way from a stroke average standpoint is Matt
Hendrix. A May, 7 2004 graduate and native of Aiken, SC, Hendrix
has a 70.94 stroke average for his 32 rounds, an average that is on
pace to be the third best in Clemson history for a single season. He
has scored under-par in 19 of those 32 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.
He is 10th according to the latest Sagarin rankings and has won two
tournaments this year.
Jack Ferguson, a junior from Seneca, has a 71.34 stroke
average this year for his 35 rounds of competition. Ferguson had
been Clemson's most consistent golfer prior to the NCAA East
Regional, but a back ailment limited his effectiveness at Yale and he
finished 51st, his worst finish in the last two years. But, with 10
days in between events, Ferguson should be back to top form for the
national tournament. For the season, Ferguson has a 71.34 stroke
average and is ranked 17th in the nation according to the latest
rankings. His 72.03 career stroke average is fourth best in school
history. He has 10 top 20 finishes for his 12 events this year.
Gregg Jones is a third first-team All-ACC selection on this
year's team that will be competing in the NCAA national. The native
of Florence will be starting in his fourth NCAA national tournament,
the only active Tiger who can make that statement. He has a chance
to become the first athlete in any sport in Clemson history to play
on four different top three teams. Jones is coming off a 14th place
finish at the NCAA regional, including a 66 in the final round that
tied for the low round by an individual in the 141-player field. He
has a 72.71 stroke average for this year and his 72.64 career average
is seventh best in school history. Jones was Clemson's top golfer at
the Preview at the Homestead back in the fall with a 141 total, good
enough for fifth place individually.
Stephen Poole has been the surprise of the year. A
sophomore, who had never played in an event prior to this season, the
native of Spartanburg has a 72.56 stroke average for his six
tournaments. He has three top 10 finishes and was a strong
contributor to Clemson's East Region Championship with a 218 score.
Brent Delahoussaye is the final player in Clemson's lineup.
The junior is coming off a number-four finish at the NCAA East
Regional, his best finish in his 29 tournament career. He had a 211
score, just four strokes short of Bill Haas's winning total, and best
by a Clemson golfer by three shots. He had played in just one event
since March 22nd. For the year, Delahoussaye has played in 10
tournaments and has a 73.93 stroke average. He finished ninth at the
Preview at the Homestead in the Fall.
Clemson Lineup for 2004 NCAA Regional tournament
Player Hgt Cl Hometown Avg
Matt Hendrix 6-1 Gr. Aiken, SC 70.94
Jack Ferguson 5-10 Jr. Seneca, SC 71.34
Gregg Jones 5-11 Gr. Florence, SC 72.71
Stephen Poole 5-9 So. Spartanburg, SC 72.56
Brent Delahoussaye 5-8 Jr. Greenville, SC 73.93