Clemson Takes Charge in the East

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Courtesy of clemsontigers.ocsn.com
 
College CentralAUBURN, Ala. -- Matt Hendrix fired a second-round 67 to lead three Tiger golfers who shot in the 60s on Friday, leading Clemson to a 277 team score and the team lead after two rounds of the NCAA East Regional at Auburn, Ala. The event is being played at the par 72 University Course at Auburn. The tournament will conclude on Saturday.
 
Clemson holds a five-shot lead over ACC rival Georgia Tech after two rounds. The two teams were co-champions of the NCAA East Regional last year at Settindown Creek in Roswell, GA. Clemson has a two-round total of 562 after Friday's 277 team score, the low round of the day by eight shots. The 277 team score was the second best ever for a Clemson team in NCAA Regional play.
 
Tennessee, the first round co-leader with Georgia Tech, is third with a 572 total, while Florida, Wake Forest and Duke are tied for fourth at 578. Augusta State stands seventh with a 580 total, while South Carolina improved to eighth place after a 285 team score on Friday and has a two-day total of 581. Vanderbilt and Auburn are tied for ninth at 582.
 
The top 10 teams out of the 27-team field will advance to Stillwater, OK for the NCAA Championships May 27-30 at Oklahoma State's Karsten Creek. Clemson has a 20-shot lead on the 10th place team heading into Saturday's final round. Clemson has advanced to the NCAA national tournament through the regional each of the last 14 years.
 
Clemson got off to a great start as a team shooting nine-under-par for their first nine of the day, the back nine. The Clemson team had 10 birdies and one bogey for those holes. In fact, the four players who had their score count towards Clemson's team score had just four bogeys the entire day.
 
Hendrix got the Tigers off to a great start early Friday morning with birdies on his first two holes. He had six birdies on the day, including four on par-four holes. His 67 gives him a two-day total of 137, seven-under-par. It was his best round since the first round of the season back in September when he shot a 65 in Tokyo. The junior from Aiken, SC stands in second place in the individual race behind Georgia Tech's Troy Matteson, the defending National Champion, who has a 135 after 36 holes.
 
D.J. Trahan and Jack Ferguson, both made four stroke improvements in their second round compared to their respective performances on Thursday. Both had 73s on Thursday and improved to 69 on Friday and are tied for 16th overall at two-under-par 142. Trahan had a clean round of three birdies and no bogeys, including a birdie on the ninth hole, his 18th of the day. The three-under par round was Trahan's 96th round at par or better, a Clemson career record. He broke the record of 95 set by John Engler from 1997-01.
 
Ferguson had five birdies and two bogeys in registering his 10th round in the 60s this year. He had a birdie on the ninth hole, his final hole of the day. He now has scored at par or better in 16 of his last 17 rounds.
 
Gregg Jones had a consistent 72 on Friday, a round that included 16 pars. Jones entered the tournament ranked in the top five in the nation in pars per round. He is tied for 13th overall with a 141 score. Ben Duncan had a round of 75 on Friday, two better than his opening round of 77.