Clemson Starts Defense of ACC Title Tomorrow

Clemson will begin defense of its ACC golf championship on Friday morning at The Old North State Club in New London, South Carolina. 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. Top Stories