April 11, 2006
ALPHARETTA, Ga. –
Thirteenth-ranked Clemson rode the back of senior Stephen Poole to its first team title since 2004, defeating Florida by three shots at the inaugural United States Collegiate Championship at The Golf Club of Georgia.
The Tigers, whose last victories occurred in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and the NCAA East Regional late in the spring of 2004, rallied from a five-stroke deficit on the back nine. Clemson played the inward nine in 3-under-par, while the third-ranked Gators played it in 4-over-par.
Poole posted a 1-under-par 71 Tuesday on the 7,020-yard, par-72 Lakeside Course. Teammates Tanner Ervin, Brian Duncan and Vince Hatfield each carded 73s as the Tigers logged a team score of 290 (2-over-par) and a 54-hole total of even-par 864. The Gators (292 Tuesday) finished at 867, while Wake Forest endured a difficult final round (12-over 300) to finish third at 11-over 875.
Poole, at 5-under-par 211 after hitting 48 of 54 greens in regulation, scored a one-shot win over Webb Simpson of Wake Forest (77-212) and Brendon Todd of Georgia (70-212). Georgia Tech’s Mike Barbosa (68-213) and Florida’s Matt Every (73-213) tied for fourth individually.
“I haven’t been in this position,” Poole said. “I’ve played well in some amateur events over the summer, but not in a team event. I knew our team was playing well, but I didn’t know that we were leading. To win a collegiate event is just really unbelievable.”
Clemson coach Larry Penley said, “That might be as good of a 54-hole ballstriking tournament as I’ve witnessed in a while, and that was his game plan today, fairways and greens.
“This team’s getting better. They’ve worked hard, they’ve gotten better every week. We got into contention last week at [the Augusta State Invitational] and we got in the last group. That was huge.”
The local teams, host and fourth-ranked Tech, top-ranked Georgia and 10th-rated Georgia State, began the day bunched together in fourth, fifth and sixth places and played the final round together. The Panthers fell out of that battle by posting a 303, but the Yellow Jackets (even-par 288) and Bulldogs (3-under 285) battled to a tie for fourth by posting the two best team scores of the day.
The teams came to the 18th hole tied, and Barbosa and Todd each holed difficult birdie putts to preserve the tie. Barbosa, with six birdies on the front nine, finished the day with a 4-under-par 68, the lowest round of the day. He tied for fourth place overall at 3-under-par 213, matching the best finish of his career. Todd, whose team was the only one to break par Tuesday, shot a 2-under 70 to wind up in a tie for second.
“It (this tournament) kind of got away from us on the back side yesterday,” said Tech head coach Bruce Heppler. “But this is better than the last three (tournaments Tech has played). There were a lot of positives in this tournament, and everybody contributed. We’re in a better place going into the ACC Championship than we were three days ago.
“Mike’s (Barbosa) played really well the last month, and that bodes well. We just need to get every going in that direction.”
Freshmen Taylor Hall and Cameron Tringale each shot 73 for Tech Tuesday and finished the tournament at 6-over 222, tied for 26th place individually. Juniors Kevin Larsen, and Roberto Castro, each with 74s on Tuesday, tied for 31st at 8-over 224. Chris Kirk was Georgia’s next highest finisher, shooting 69 Tuesday and tying for 19th overall at 5-over 221. Mark Haastrup led Georgia State at with a tie for 14th place at 219 after a 75 on Tuesday.
The tournament itself, the first collegiate tournament ever played at The Golf Club of Georgia and believed to be the first played with caddies assigned to each player for each round, drew rave reviews from the participants.
“I just got my 17th (person to tell me) `This is the best college tournament I’ve ever been to,’ and that’s what we were trying to do,” said Heppler, who served as the host coach. “Anytime you do something the first time, there’s kinks and mistakes, but I think we kept most of that in the background. The scoring system was a massive job, and getting 70 caddies for each round was a major undertaking as well. But this is an unbelievable great golf course, and we were happy to show it to some people.
“We hope one day we can get the NCAA Championship here, and this was a small step towards doing that. We host the NCAA East Regional here next year, so it was great to get our feet wet knowing what hole locations we can use, which ones we can’t, and how it will play. A year from now, we’ll be ready for it.”
Poole, the tournament medalist, added: “This tournament is going to be unbelievable. I wish I could come back for a few more years.”
Penley said, “You can only win the first one once. There will be only one first winner, and that’s us. So I’m very proud of that, and I can honestly see that this tournament will grow into maybe the most prestigious college regular-season event in the country.”
Comcast Sports Southeast, which serves 11 states and 5 million households, will air a tape-delayed telecast of the United States Collegiate Championship on April 25th at 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Callaway Golf and Siemens are presenting sponsors for the USCC, with Cadillac the official vehicle.
THE UNITED STATES COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIPThe Golf Club of Georgia, Lakeside CourseApril 11, 2006Final Results
TEAM STANDINGS 1 Clemson 291 283 290 864 E 2 Florida 287 288 292 867 +3 3 Wake Forest 288 287 300 875 +11 T4 Georgia Tech 290 298 288 876 +12 T4 Georgia 298 293 285 876 +12 6 Georgia State 303 279 303 885 +21 7 TCU 297 299 294 890 +26 8 East Tennessee St. 294 305 296 895 +31 9 Alabama 294 298 304 896 +32 10 Texas 294 297 308 899 +35 11 Brigham Young 304 301 298 903 +39 12 Tennessee 307 297 309 913 +49 13 Florida State 306 299 311 916 +52
INDIVIDUAL LEADERS finish top 20 players school scores 1 Stephen Poole Clemson 70 70 71 211 −5 T2 Webb Simpson Wake Forest 68 67 77 212 −4 T2 Brendon Todd Georgia 70 72 70 212 −4 T4 Michael Barbosa Georgia Tech 70 75 68 213 −3 T4 Matt Every Florida 68 72 73 213 −3 6 Chris McCartin Wake Forest 72 69 74 215 −1 T7 Jeff Bell Texas 75 67 74 216 E T7 Rhys Davies East Tennessee St. 68 75 73 216 E T7 Billy Horschel Florida 73 72 71 216 E T10 Jonas Blixt Florida State 72 70 75 217 +1 T10 Tanner Ervin Clemson 74 70 73 217 +1 T10 Daniel Summerhays Brigham Young 75 71 71 217 +1 T10 Matthew Swan Alabama 71 74 72 217 +1 T14 Brian Duncan Clemson 75 71 73 219 +3 T14 Mark Haastrup Georgia State 73 71 75 219 +3 T14 Jon McLean TCU 77 71 71 219 +3 T17 Mark Harrell Alabama 72 70 78 220 +4 T17 Vince Hatfield Clemson 75 72 73 220 +4 T19 Chris Kirk Georgia 77 75 69 221 +5