Local Golf Notes : Proveaux shines for Tigers

bspear@thestate.comMarch 3, 2013 

Pelion's Cody Proveaux is off to a hot start in his first year at Clemson.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CLEMSON UNIVERSITY

Beginning in 1997, Clemson golfers won the South Carolina Amateur Championship for six consecutive years. Charles Warren led the parade, then Lucas Glover claimed three in a row and D.J. Trahan added two more.

In 2012, a future Clemson golfer did even better. Cody Proveaux earned the state’s top prize for amateurs before joining the Tigers.

Six months into his college career, Proveaux “is even better than I thought, and I don’t say that in a negative way,” Tigers’ coach Larry Penley said. “We knew he would be very good; he’s better than that. He’s a very gifted youngster.”

Proveaux’s credentials include a pair of South Carolina junior player of the year awards and the 2011 American Junior Golf Association’s national player of the year prize. His championships include the Junior PGA. He even got a taste of the pro game last summer, shooting 75-71—146 in the PGA Tour’s St. Jude Classic in Memphis and missing the cut by three strokes.

Two weeks after earning the State Amateur title, he began his Clemson career and his 72.73 stroke average after five tournaments ranks second on the nationally ranked squad. He has one top-10 finish and two more top-20s.

All of this is no surprise to Penley, who first saw Proveaux in his summer camp nine years ago and could envision a future star.

“His hands and coordination are so good,” the Clemson coach said. “He can do anything with the golf ball. He just has the ability to adjust in many different ways. It’s a blessing.”

And, the coach said, the best is yet to come.

“Cody is really just learning how to practice,” Penley said. “He loves to play, and he’s going to benefit from working more in practice. That’s one of the adjustments he’s had to make.

“(The talent) is there and patience is important. So much is expected of him and we’re tickled to death so far. The thing is, he’s a gamer. The closer we get to the big events, the ACC and the NCAA tournaments, the better he will play.”

Those who watched him at Pelion High and in junior golf would agree. And one state official who watched him tie for eighth in the 2010 State Amateur — before his junior year in high school — expressed amazement at his potential.

“Cody’s going to be really good,” he said that day at Columbia Country Club.

Now, his college coach said, “He’s even better.”

Chip shots

Persons interested in volunteering for the 2014 U.S. Men’s and Women’s Opens, scheduled for back-to-back weeks in June at Pinehurst, can find information and applications at 2014volunteers.usga.org. ... Three of golf’s biggest names — Ernie Els, Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar — have committed to play in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island in April. Els won the 2012 British Open, giving him four major titles. Kuchar moved to eighth in the world rankings with his victory in the match-play championship and Donald is ranked No. 3 in the world. For ticket information, go to rbcheritage.com or call (843) 671-2448. ... The Fold of Honor Foundation has honored the Carolinas PGA Section with its “Freedom Warrior” award for its continuing commitment to improve the lives of families for U.S. military personnel. The Carolinas PGA has been the top performing section of the PGA of America for Patriot Day Golf since the program began in 2007. ... After its eighth-place finish in Puerto Rico, Clemson is ranked 21st in the GolfWorld/Nike Golf Coaches poll. California holds the top spot. ... The CGA will conduct a rules of golf seminar at Woodlands Country Club on March 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Other seminars in the state, all from 5:30-7:30, include Moss Creek (Hilton Head Island, March 4), Wild Dunes (Isle of Palms, March 6), Prestwick (Myrtle Beach, March 7), Woodside Plantation (Aiken, March 12) and Country Club of Spartanburg (March 14). All are free of charge and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to pre-register at carolinasgolf.org

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