USC and Clemson golf coaches, both men’s and women’s, roamed far and wide to restock their rosters, and they brought home some players with glittering credentials during the November signing period.
Gamecocks men’s coach Bill McDonald needed to go no further than Lexington to secure Caleb Proveaux, ranked second in the state and 36th nationally. He added Jamie Wilson (No. 5 in the state and 71st nationally) from Mt. Pleasant, but his third signee, Connor Chesky (13th in his state, 89th nationally), hails from California.
Kalen Anderson, USC’s women’s coach, accumulated the most frequent flyer miles in signing three international players: Marion Veysseyre from France, Ana Pelaez from Spain, and Anita Uwadia, a native of Nigeria who attends Hilton Head Prep. Veysseyre, who will enroll for the spring semester, is No. 1 in the European Under 18 rankings and Palaez is No. 6 in the world junior rankings and 29th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Clemson men’s coach Larry Penley did not travel nearly as far in signing William Nottingham (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Doc Redman (Raleigh). Both are in the top 30 in both the Golfweek rankings and the Junior Golf rankings. Redman earned high school golfer of the year in North Carolina and finished fourth in the Carolinas Amateur.
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Clemson’s women, in their third season of competition, added Ana Paula Valdes, a native of Mexico who lives in Florida. She qualified to play in an LPGA event at age 13 and has compiled a long list of junior achievements.
Veysseyre will be eligible immediately for the USC women’s team, and Anderson called her “a gamer who gets the job done when it matters. ... I foresee her making an impact in our lineup immediately.” Pelaez, also an experienced player in international competition, “is a perfect fit for our program,” Anderson said.
In looking at USC’s men’s recruits, McDonald noted Proveaux’s USGA record – qualifying for three U.S. Juniors and one U.S. Amateur – and said, “He is one of those players who doesn’t shy away from the opportunity to win and he closes out golf tournaments about as well as anyone I have seen in junior or amateur golf.”
Clemson’s men enjoyed a productive fall, climbing to 13th in the Golfweek rankings on the strength of a second, a third and a tie for seventh in four tournaments. The USC men opened the fall ranked seventh in the preseason polls and fell to 24th in the latest survey. The Gamecocks won once and had top-six finishes in three other events.
Thanks to strong performances by freshmen Lauren Stephenson and Alice Hewson, Clemson’s women moved to 29th in the final poll of the fall. The Tigers finished in the top five in three of their four starts. USC’s women struggled in the fall, dropping from No. 10 in the preseason rankings to 45th. Junior Katelyn Dambaugh sparkled with a third and a tie for second in four events.
The host team of Aiken’s Palmetto Golf Club won both the Lathrop Cup Championship and the Lathrop Cup Pro-Am by comfortable margins. Michael Carlisle, Jim Wise and Jim Hamilton composed the winning team in the competition that features three amateurs over the age of 55. Pro Brooks Blackburn joined the trio for the pro-am. ... Tickets for the RBC Heritage, the PGA Tour tourney set April 11-17 on Hilton Head Island, are on sale at discounted prices through Dec. 18. For information or to purchase tickets, call 843-671-2448 or go online to www.rbcheritage.com. ... Tickets for the Wells Fargo Championship, scheduled for May 2-8 in Charlotte, can be purchased by visiting www.wellsfargochampionship.com or calling (800) 945-0777.