Coach wasn't torn once playoff began

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Longtime Clemson golf coach Larry Penley stopped rooting once Jonathan Byrd's birdie putt rolled in to force a playoff with Lucas Glover at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Why?

Because he knew it couldn't get any better than the two former Tigers competing for the tournament title.

Glover, the former U.S. Open winner, beat Byrd in the playoff, settling what CBS Sports commentator Jim Nantz dubbed "the Clemson Invitational."

Byrd had seen the packs of orange-shirted fans trailing him for stretches at Quail Hollow and chuckled on his way to the 18th tee for the playoff.

"Man, there are going to be some happy Clemson fans about this playoff," he recalled thinking. "I was excited for them for that, just to have that moment, to have two Clemson guys in a playoff trying to win the golf tournament."

"Coach Penley can brag a little bit in the morning, I think," Glover said.

After the playoff between former players, the current group of Tigers followed up Monday with its 30th consecutive invitation -- and 28th in a row under Penley -- to the NCAA Tournament.

Penley has spent the last three decades building Clemson into a collegiate golf powerhouse.

Pro golfer Charles Warren won the 1997 NCAA individual title and in 2003 PGA Tour winner D.J. Trahan led the Tigers to the NCAA team title, along with Aiken native Matt Hendrix, a former PGA Tour players who tied for third in last week's Nationwide Tour event in Athens, Ga.

There were seven former Clemson golfers entered at Quail Hollow last week, five of whom made the cut.

The newest group of Tigers on tour includes Kyle Stanley, the Ben Hogan Award winner as the top collegiate golfer in 2009; Ben Martin, the runner up at the 2009 U.S. Amateur; and Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer.

"It's kind of been going for a while, (but) this is the first time we've had something of this magnitude," Penley said.


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