Oct. 20, 2016
Alpharetta, Ga. – Georgia Tech’s golf team takes on one of college golf’s strongest fields this weekend when it hosts the 11th annual Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate at the Golf Club of Georgia.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION — The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, formerly called the United States Collegiate Championship, is being played Friday through Sunday at the Golf Club of Georgia, which serves at the Yellow Jackets’ home club. This year for the first time, the tournament will utilize both of the club’s courses, the 7,017-yard, par 72 Lakeside Course and the 7,039-yard, par-72 Creekside Course, for the first two rounds of the event. Each team will play one round on each course Friday or Saturday, and all 17 teams will play the final round Sunday on the Lakeside Course, where every round of the tournament was played in previous years. Competition begins at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
Auburn and Wake Forest were co-champions of last year’s tournament, while Virginia’s Derek Bard, Stanford’s Maverick McNealy, Auburn’s Will Long and Wake Forest’s Cameron Young tied for medalist honors. The field is traditionally one of the strongest in college golf, and 14 of the 17 teams this year are in the current Golfstat top 50. Six of those are ranked among the top 10, with four others in the top 25. Auburn and Wake Forest are back to defend their 2015 shared title, and all four co-medalists from 2015 are back as well. Bard also won medalist honors alone in 2014 with a tournament-record score of 201 (-15). Twelve of the nation’s current top 25 players, according to Golfstat, are in the field.
The field, in alphabetical order with current Golfstat ranking — Auburn (3), Clemson (16), Duke (26), East Tennessee State (111), Georgia Tech (31), LSU (6), Oklahoma (8), Oklahoma State (2), Southern California (19), Stanford (13), Texas (28), Texas A&M (21), TCU (68), UCLA (33), Villanova (224), Virginia (7), Wake Forest (9),
Tech is paired with Oklahoma and Stanford for the first two rounds, teeing off at 9:55 a.m. Friday on the Lakeside Course and 10 a.m. Saturday on the Creekside Course.
TECH’S GOLF CLUB OF GEORGIA COLLEGIATE HISTORY — Georgia Tech has won the USCC twice in its 10-year history, in 2010 and 2012. Clemson is the only other multiple winner, having captured the inaugural title in 2006 and again in 2009. James White, who set tournament records for 18-hole score (62) and 54-hole score (204, broken in 2014), won medalist honors in 2010, while Ollie Schniederjans won it in 2013 for Tech’s only individual titles. The Yellow Jackets finished fifth last fall.
TEAM UPDATE — Georgia Tech, No. 31 in this week’s Golfstat rankings and No. 24 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, returns to action after nearly a full month since its last outing, a sixth-place finish at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate. The Yellow Jackets opened the fall by finishing fifth at the Carpet Capital Collegiate. Freshman Luke Schniederjans, who won the Carpet Capital Collegiate and tied for 13th at the Maui Jim, is ranked 13th individually in Golfstat and eighth in the Sagarin ratings.
Head coach Bruce Heppler has everybody back from his 2015-16 team which played in an NCAA regional last spring but did not advance to the NCAA finals, and has added a highly-regarded class of four freshmen who were all rated among the top 100 junior golfer in their class.
TECH LINEUP — Three Yellow Jackets will be making their fall, 2016 debut this weekend, including junior Michael Pisciotta (Alpharetta, Ga.) and freshman Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.), who made their way onto the travel team for this week through Tech’s 72-hole qualifying tournament. This will be the ninth career event for Pisciotta, who tied for 31st in this event a year ago. Strafaci, the top-ranked junior in the state of Florida before enrolling at Tech, was named one of 15 freshman to watch this year by Golfweek magazine.
They’ll be joined in the lineup for this weekend by Schniederjans and juniors James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) and Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.), each of whom have played in both events this fall. Schniederjans has averaged a team-low 68.83 strokes over six rounds, five of them under 70, and was named ACC Golfer of the Month for December. Clark tied for 11th place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate and has averaged 71.33 strokes over six rounds, while Petefish tied for ninth at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate and has a 71.67 average.
Heppler is also fielding a “B” team of sorts this weekend, sending out five players who did not make the cut in team qualifying to compete as individuals, including seniors Michael Hines (Acworth, Ga.) and Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas), junior Jacob Joiner and sophomore Tyler Joiner (both Leesburg, Ga.) and freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.).
COACH Bruce Heppler ON THE STRENGTH OF THE FIELD – “People (teams) can choose to go anywhere they want. If they’re going to come to town, I want it to be as close to a Tour event as possible. Over the years, we’ve done a really good job.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is entering its 22nd under head coach Bruce Heppler. The Yellow Jackets have won 16 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 28 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up four times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GT_Golf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.