Clemson Crowned NCAA Champions

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College CentralSTILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Larry Penley had just won his first national title and wasn't sure what to think. Penley watched his Clemson Tigers, ranked No. 1 all season, escape with a two-stroke victory over host Oklahoma State in the NCAA championships Friday, capping a grueling four days at Karsten Creek Golf Club.
 
'I'm still kind of in shock,' said Penley, whose Tigers were runners-up two years ago and finished third last year. 'I knew it could happen but I wasn't really sure if it was going to, because the way things have gone the last few years, it's taken a magical week.'
 
ClemsonThis was more like survival of the fittest. The course was difficult enough that most rounds took nearly 6 hours to complete. And the final two days were played with temperatures in the mid-90s.
 
'It was probably the hardest round of golf I think we've ever had to play,' Penley said. 'We shoot 15-over par and still win? It was extremely tough. You had to be unbelievably patient.'
 
Clemson shot a 15-over 303 and wound up 39 over for the four rounds. Oklahoma State, which began the day one shot behind Clemson, shot 304 and wound up 41 over.
 
UCLA was third at 45 over, while Wake Forest and Florida tied for fourth at 46 over.
 
'I think everybody kind of showed the effects of the situation, because it doesn't look like the scores are very good,' said Oklahoma State coach Mike Holder.
 
The individual winner was Arizona State freshman Alejandro Canizares, whose 3-under 69 left him at 287, 1-under par and two shots ahead of Auburn's Lee Williams. Williams, the leader after each of the first three days, was undone by double bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 and wound up with a 77.
 
Clemson was the favorite after finishing first or second in 11 of its 12 stroke-play events. The Tigers and Oklahoma State battled throughout the final two days, with the Cowboys stumbling a bit on the closing holes Friday.
 
Clemson's Jack Ferguson, playing in the final group, double-bogeyed the 17th hole, cutting the Tigers' lead to three with one hole to play. He was paired with Oklahoma State's Hunter Mahan, who had eagled No. 18 each of the past two days.
 
Ferguson played conservatively, laying up in the par-5 final hole and easily two-putting from about 25 feet as Mahan birdied.
 
'I'm just glad we were able to come through,' said D.J. Trahan, who chose not to turn pro last year to return for his senior season. 'I'm not going to kid you, it's a lot of pressure, it takes a lot of guts. This is a tough golf course.
 
'Coming down the stretch, you've really got to pull it together and sack it up, and we did that today. We played fantastic coming in.'
 
Trahan had Clemson's best round, a 74. The Cowboys' best score was a 75 by Alex Noren. Mahan wound up with a 76.
 
Auburn's Williams began the day at the only player in red figures. He struggled early in his round, but was at 3 under after a birdie on 14 before his round fell apart.
 
He had also double-bogeyed 16 on Thursday, but finished par-birdie. He wasn't as fortunate this time.
 
After his trouble on 16, Williams' tee shot on No. 17 landed in tall rough under a tree. He tried to punch out, but the ball went about two feet backward. Then he did punch out, hit a 6-iron approach about 20 feet past the pin and two-putted.
 
'One over for the day going to 16, I was very happy,' Williams said. 'It (the golf course) got me today. You're going to have one round where more than likely things don't go your way.'
 
Canizares, son of Champions Tour golfer Jose Maria Canizares, shot a 77 in the first round but put himself contention with rounds of 70 and 71. He began the day six shots behind Williams.
 
Starting out on the 10th tee, he played the front in 2 under, then made two birdies and a bogey on the back.
 
'I was just keeping my game and concentrating and not looking at the leader board,' Canizares said. 'I didn't know my chances (after Tuesday). It's a long tournament. I made a good comeback and played well the last three days.'
 
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