March 19, 2017
Palm City, Fla. – Freshman Tyler Strafaci shot a 2-over-par 73 Sunday, and No. 27 Georgia Tech shot 17-over-par 301 and stands in ninth place after the opening round of the Valspar Collegiate Invitational at The Floridian National Golf Club.
TECH LINEUP – Only eight players broke par Sunday on a gusty day at The Floridian, a 7,114-yard, par 71 layout. Strafaci, a freshman from Davie, Fla., and Andy Ogletree, a freshman from Little Rock, Miss., avoided big trouble, no scores worse than bogey, and combined for just five birdies in posting scores of 73 and 74 for the Yellow Jackets. Strafaci is tied for 15th place, Ogletree tied for 21st.
Senior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) and junior James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) each shot 77 to provide the Yellow Jackets’ other two counting scores. Freshman Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) did not count after carding a 78.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – No. 14 Texas A&M made the best of the windy day and challenging course with a 4-over-par 288 to take a three-stroke lead over 10th-ranked Wake Forest (291, +7). North Texas, with the top two individuals on the leaderboard, is in third place at 292 (+8).
No. 18 Texas and No. 49 Houston are tied for fourth at 295 (+11), followed by LSU (297, +13). No. 33 South Carolina and South Florida are tied for seventh at 300 (+16).
Ten of the 14 teams in the field are ranked among the top 50 in the nation according to Golfstat.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Cory Churchman from North Texas fired a 3-under-par 68 to take a one-shot lead over teammate Thomas Rosenmueller and Papilo Gonzalez from Houston, who both shot 69. Five players, led by Texas A&M teammates Candler Phillips and Andrew Paysse, are tied for fourth place at 1-under-par 70.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “It was the first fight we’ve been in all year, and we got bloodied a little. The greens are very fast, and it was windy here on the Intercoastal Waterway. This is a championship test, and you really have to be precise and have no turnovers. We tried to create an attitude where we want to be challenged and become tough. It’s better to have that now than later. It certainly reflected in how the teams played. We need to be the ones to figure out how to get it done.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its fourth appearance in the Valspar Invitational, which began three years ago and has become one of the spring’s premier events at one of Florida’s top golf venues. The 54-hole event continues Monday (8 a.m.) and Tuesday (7 a.m.) with split-tee starts. It is played at the 7,114-yard, par 71 Floridian National Golf Club, part of The Floridian Resort and Spa.
Ten of the 14 teams competing at the 2017 Valspar Collegiate Invitational are ranked among the top 50 in the latest Golfstat national rankings with five listed among the top 25. The field includes No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 12 LSU, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 18 Texas, No. 23 Arkansas, No. 27 Georgia Tech, No. 30 Florida State, No. 33 South Carolina, No. 49 Houston Memphis, Minnesota, North Texas and South Florida.
The Yellow Jackets finished 10th in last year’s Valspar event, posting a 21-over-par score of 871, after winning the inaugural event in 2014 (13-under-par 837). Ollie Schniederjans won medalist honors at the 2014 tournament.