Clemson Opens Golf Season Saturday

Clemson will take one of its youngest teams in years to The Ridges Intercollegiate men's golf tournament this weekend. It is the season opener for Larry Penley's Tigers, who finished second in the nation last year.

The Tigers will play 36 holes on Saturday and 18 on Sunday at the par 72 Ridges Country Club in Johnson City, TN. Clemson is one of 15 teams in the field that includes 12 top 25 squads. East Tennessee State serves as the host institution.

Penley will be taking two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman to the event, the opening tournament of his 19th year as Clemson head coach.

Two of the Tigers will be making their first appearance for the Clemson golf team.

Leading the way will be United States Walker Cup team member D.J. Trahan. The junior has finished in the top 15 at the NCAA Tournament each of the last two years. His 72.48 stroke average is third best in Clemson history. He is ranked fourth among amateur golfers in the world according to Golfweek. He warmed up for the event with a 10-under-par 62 at Pickens Country Club on Wednesday, one off the course record held by Penley.

Joining Trahan in the Clemson lineup will be classmate Ben Duncan. The native of Greenville, SC had one of his best tournaments of 2000-01 at the Ridges when he shot a two-over-par 218 to finish 24th individually. His 70 in the final round a year ago helped Clemson to a third-place finish.

Two sophomores will be in Clemson's lineup. Gregg Jones, who had a strong summer, winning the South Carolina Open and the South Carolina Match Play, will be playing in his 10th career tournament for the Tigers. He posted a 73.43 stroke average a year ago as a freshman, fourth best ever by a Clemson rookie. He finished the year strong with a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Regional and a 39th-place finish at the NCAA National event.

Matt Hendrix is the other sophomore in the Clemson lineup. The native of Aiken automatically qualified for a spot in Clemson's lineup by virtue of his advancement to the Match Play of the US Amateur last month. Penley has a policy of rewarding his returning players with an automatic berth in the first tournament if they reach match play of the US Amateur. This will be Hendrix first career event as a Tiger.

Jack Ferguson, a red-shirt freshman from Seneca will also be playing in his first college event for the Tigers. He was runnerup to teammate Greg Jones at the South Carolina Match Play, finished fifth at the South Carolina Amateur, seventh at the Rice Planters and 10th at the Southern Amateur.

This will be the fourth straight year that Clemson has played in the Ridges. Clemson won the inaugural event in 1998 behind Jonathan Byrd, who won medallist honors. Byrd is now on the Tour. Clemson has finished first, sixth, and third at the event in its first three appearances. Top Stories