Clemson Begins Play in NCAA Salem Regional Monday
Clemson, SC—Clemson will begin play in the Salem Regional of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship on Monday. The Tigers are one of 14 schools that will compete in the regional tournament that will be held May 15-17 at The Cliff @ Keowee Falls Golf Club in Salem, SC.
This is Clemson’s 41st consecutive trip to the NCAA men’s golf tournament and 43 appearance overall, but it will be the first time Clemson has served as the host. The 43 appearances are the most team NCAA Tournament appearances in any sport in Clemson history.
The 54-hole, three-day tournament is one of six regional tournaments being held all over the country on these same three days, weather permitting. The top five teams in each of the six regionals will advance to the national tournament in Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 26-31.
This will be just the third time Clemson has played in an NCAA Regional tournament in the state of South Carolina. It also happened in 1989 at Long Bay Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, and in 1998 at the Melrose Course on Daufuskie Island. Clemson was suppose to play host to the NCAA Regional at this same facility in 2020, but the entire NCAA Tournament was cancelled due to COVID.
Clemson is the #9 seed in the Salem Regional. The other teams in the field include #1 seed North Carolina, who is ranked second in the nation by Golfstat and third by Golfweek, #2 seed Georgia Tech, who won the ACC Championship two weeks ago, #3 seed Texas A&M, #4 seed San Diego State, the Mountain West Champion, #5 Georgia Southern #6 Arkansas, #7 Purdue, #8 New Mexico, #10 Furman, #11 Middle Tennessee State, #12 Northern Illinois, #13 Long Island University the Northeast Conference Champion, and #14 Longwood, who won the Big South this year.
The top players in the field include David Ford of North Carolina, who was named the ACC Player of the Year last Thursday and is ranked fourth in the nation by Golfweek. The field also includes Christo Lamprecht of Georgia Tech, who is ranked #6 by Golfweek, Ben Carr of Georgia Tech, ranked #16 by Golfstat, Ross Steelman of Georgia Tech, ranked #9 by Golfweek, and Herman Wibe Sekne of Purdue, who is ranked 19th by Golfweek.
The regional format of the NCAA Tournament began in 1989 and Clemson has advanced to the National Championship tournament from the regional 25 of the previous 33 tournaments, including six of the last seven. Clemson has made the national tournament 33 times overall dating to a 12th-place finish at Ohio State in 1980.
Clemson has a young team this year led by sophomore Andrew Swanson, who has a 71.53 stroke average. He has 12 under-par rounds, including seven rounds in the 60s. He won the Ka’anapali Classic in October with a Clemson record score of 18-under par (195). He also finished third at the Seahawk Invitational and was Clemson’s top player at the ACC Tournament with a 14th-place finish. It was the fifth time this year he has been Clemson’s best player at a tournament.
Jonathan Nielsen, a junior transfer who was a Division II All-American last year, has the second-best average on the team at 72.00. He has a team best 17 rounds at par or better and has five top 25 finishes, including a ninth place at The Blessings back in the fall.
Kian Rose, a sophomore from South Africa, has a 72.44 stroke average, third best on the team. He is one of two current Tigers who has NCAA Tournament experience. He has six rounds in the 60s and 12 under-par rounds for the year. Rose has a 73.22 career stroke average and this will be his 20th career tournament.
Zack Gordon is the most experience Clemson golfer, as this will be his 42 career event. The fifth-year senior from Gaffney has a 73.37 stroke average this year and has nine rounds at par or better. He was Clemson’s third best golfer at the ACC Tournament with a four-over-par score of 220.
Thomas Higgins is a freshman from Ireland who has played in five events this year and holds a 73.67 average.
Clemson players will begin the tournament on Monday at 8:55 a.m and will play with Purdue and New Mexico. Live scoring will be available on golfstat.com.
Admission to the tournament is free of charge. The address for the Jack Nicklaus designed course is 770 South Cherry Laurel Way, Salem, SC 29676