Tigers Make Cut for Final Round of NCAA

Senior Stephen Poole fired a one under par 71 on Friday to lead Clemson to a 296 team score and a seventh place standing after three rounds of the NCAA Golf tournament at Crosswater Golf Club in Sunriver, OR.

Clemson made the 15-team cut for the final round for the first time since winning the national championship in 2003, and will compete for the national championship on Saturday. While the Tigers are in seventh place, Clemson is just nine shots out of the lead, which is held by Washington at seven-under-par. But, Clemson's 296 score, was just two strokes worse than the 294 turned in by the Huskies on Friday By making the cut, Clemson is assured of at least top 15 finish at the NCAA tournament. Head Coach Larry Penley will tie former Clemson Tiger men's soccer coach Dr. I.M. Ibrahim for the school record for top 20 seasons as a head coach. Both will have 20 when Clemson's round is completed on Saturday. Playing conditions were more difficult on Friday. Nine of the 10 schools in the top 10 entering Friday's play shot five-over par or worse. That allowed Oklahoma State to make up ground with an even-par team round. The Cowboys, who have been ranked number-two in the nation most of the year, are now in second place tied with Wake Forest and Arizona State for second at four under par. They entered the day in seventh.

"We played good all day until right at the end," said Penley. We hung in there and had everybody in the game. But you can't make big numbers and expect to win or even contend. We made three double bogeys on the back side (front nine, Hatfield and Duncan on 8 and May on 4, not to mention a triple by Ervin on 4) that were killers. The two bogeys on 8 especially were killers. "If we make two pars there, or even two bogeys there, we come in around even-par or two-under (for the tournament). As it is now, we are nine shots back and have a lot of teams to pass to get there (the championship).

"Stephen Poole played great in very difficult conditions. He hit fairways and greens and made pars. He played great golf." Clemson has been in the top five for most of the tournament, but slipped two spots to seventh by the end of play on Friday when they had to count three double bogeys within their last six holes. Poole had the best Clemson round of the day by two shots and his 216 score through three rounds is tied for 25th. His second round 76 is keeping him from a top 10 standing entering his final college round.

The senior from Spartanburg had the four-over-par 76 on Friday thanks to seven bogeys in his last 11 holes. But, on Friday, Poole was two-under-par for his last 11 holes. He had two birdies and seven pars on the front nine, his second nine of the day. The birdies came on the first and fourth holes, giving him the front nine 34. He had a 33 on the front nine in the first round.

Vince Hatfield had a 74 on Friday, and is Clemson's second best golfer at the tournament with a 217 score, one over par. The freshman did score a double bogey on the eighth hole, his 17th of the day, but he came back with a birdie on the par four ninth hole. He stands at 217 for his 54 holes and now has six consecutive NCAA Tournament rounds at 74 or better.

David May, like Hatfield a freshman, had a 75 on Friday that included a double bogey on the par four fourth hole. He came back to par the last five holes after that double bogey. May stands with a 218 total through three rounds after opening rounds of 71 and 72. Tanner Ervin and Brian Duncan both had holes on the front side that hurt their rounds. Duncan, like Hatfield, had a double bogey on the difficult par four eighth and finished with a 76. He is now at 219 for the three rounds after opening rounds of 70-73. Ervin had a 40 on t he front side, his second nine of the day that included a triple bogey on the par four seventh hole. His score of 78 was the highest by a Tiger in the national tournament. He stands at 221 through three rounds.

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