Clemson, SC–Clemson was one of 14
teams selected to play in the NCAA Men's Golf Regional Tournament at the
Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, AZ on Monday night. Larry Penley's Tigers
are the number-five seed in the field. The top five teams after three
days of competition May 16-18, will advance to the NCAA Championship Tournament
at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course in Alpharetta, GA May 28-June 2.
Joining Clemson in Tempe are UCLA
(1), Duke (2), Georgia (3), Texas A&M (4), Vanderbilt (6), Central
Florida (7), North Carolina (8), Arizona State (9), Kennesaw State (10),
Arizona (11), Austin Peay (12), New Mexico State (13) and Lehigh (14).
“Anywhere you go it is going to be a
competitive site,” said Penley, who has taken Clemson to the NCAA Tournament
all 30 years he has been Clemson's Head Coach. “We are going to have to
play well. But, when you look at the field, only UCLA is a West Coast
team among the top eight seeds. It will be an advantage for Arizona State
and Arizona because they are familiar with the course. It should be a
“At least we should get some good
weather,” joked Penley, as the weather in the Southeast of late has not been
golf friendly. “It will be a long trip for our young team (three freshman
starters), but it should be fun. I don't believe we have played in a
tournament in Arizona before.”
But, Clemson has played a course called Karsten previously. When Clemson won
the National Championship in 2003, it was held at Oklahoma State on the Karsten
Creek Golf Course.
This is the 32nd consecutive
year the Clemson program has been selected for the NCAA Men's Golf
Tournament, the 30th consecutive year under Penley. It is the longest
streak of consecutive NCAA team tournament appearances in Clemson sports
history. Only Oklahoma State (66) has a longer streak among
Division I golf programs.
Clemson has an outstanding history
in NCAA Regional play. This is the 25th year of NCAA regional play and
Clemson has won the regional championship seven times. Penley is the only
Division I coach with seven regional championships. Clemson has
qualified for the NCAA National tournament through the regional 19 times in the
last 24 years. Clemson has won seven NCAA regional championships, second in the
nation to Oklahoma State's nine. Arizona State and Arizona have six.
Clemson is ranked 27th by the Golfstat Computer Poll and 30th by the Golf World
Coaches Poll entering the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers have five top five
finishes and have a 71-49-7 record against all competition. The Tigers
finished third at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Classic in March and third at the
Wolfpack Spring Open. The Tigers have played a strong schedule, ranked as
the 20th most difficult by the Sagarin Computer ranking.
The Tigers will play three freshmen,
a sophomore and a senior in the NCAA Regional. It is first time Clemson
has had three freshmen in the lineup for an NCAA Tournament since 2007 (Kyle
Stanley, Ben Martin, Sam Saunders) and for just the fourth time in history.
The other years were 1990 and 1995.
This is the first time in school history three freshmen are the top three
players in terms of stroke average. Stephen Behr leads the way with a
72.88 figure, an average that is on pace to be eighth best in school history
for a freshman. Behr has three top 10 finishes and has had his score
count in 25 of 26 rounds this year.
Miller Capps is second in terms of
stroke average with a 73.52 figure. Capps has been first and second
among Clemson golfers in the last two tournaments and has shot four under par
for those two events. He had an opening round 67 at the Wolfpack Spring Open on
April 20, his best round of the year.
Cody Proveaux, the reigning South
Carolina Amateur Champion, has a 73.93 stroke average of his 29 rounds in
2012-13. He leads the team in rounds at 75 or better and is first in par
four scoring average at 4.13. Proveaux showed his capabilities at the ACC
Tournament with a second round 67.
Senior Crawford Reeves has a 74.24 stroke average for the year. He has been
outstanding in NCAA Tournament play over his career. The native of
Greenville, SC who is second in Clemson history in career eagles (14), has
finished 13th, seventh and 14, respectively, in his previous three NCAA regional
tournaments. He has a chance to join Gregg Jones (2001-04) as the only players
in Clemson history with four consecutive top 15 finishes in NCAA regional play.
Billy Kennerly, a sophomore from Alpharetta, GA, was Clemson's top player at
the ACC Championships with a 10th place finish off a 213 score. He hopes
the Tigers can make the cut at the regional as the National Championship will
be played in his hometown. Kennerly has a 74.42 stroke average for the