March 31, 2016
THE FLATS – Continuing to gear up for its defense of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, Georgia Tech’s golf team returns to action this weekend by participating the inaugural Clemson Invitational, which is being contested at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls in Salem, S.C.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The first Clemson Invitational is a 54-hole event that begins Friday and runs through Sunday with 18 holes each day. It is played at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, a 7,200-yard, par 72 layout in Salem, S.C.
The field includes four ACC teams in 11th-ranked Clemson, the host institution, Boston College, Louisville and Notre Dame, as well as Elon, Furman, Michigan State, Navy, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington and Winthrop.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech is ranked No. 47 in the latest Golfstat rankings and No. 39 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. The Yellow Jackets finished 14th out of 15 teams in a loaded field and logged their highest score of the year (905, +53) at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational a week ago, three weeks after posting their lowest score of the year (857, -7). Tech has a 50-52-1 won-loss record cumulatively this year against a schedule rated the fourth-toughest in the country, and a 15-33-1 mark against top-25 teams.
Only two teams in the Sagarin top 50 – No. 1 Texas and No.12 Florida State – have faced more top-25 teams in competition this year than has Tech.
The Yellow Jackets posted high finishes of fifth place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate, the United States Collegiate Championship in the fall and the Puerto Rico Classic this spring.
TECH LINEUP – Tech will have its top five players in terms of scoring average competing at the Clemson Invitational, led by junior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas), who has a pair of top-5 finishes to his credit this year, including a tie for fifth at the Amer Ari Invitational this spring. His 9-under-par score of 207 was a 54-hole career low. He is ranked No. 97 in the Golfwek/Sagarin Index, and leads the Jackets with a 72.65 stroke average and a 67.4 won-loss percentage.
Also on the trip is sophomore Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.), who is ranked No. 131 in the Sagarin Index on the strength of his victory at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in the fall and three other top-20 finishes, including a tie for 11th at the Puerto Rico Classic. Joiner is second on the team in won-loss percentage and stroke average (73.65).
Sophomore Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) turned in his best performance of the year (t-9) at the Puerto Rico Classic where he shot 4-under-par 212, and has a stroke average of 73.90. Sophomore James Clark (Columbus, Ga.), with a 74.05 stroke average, and junior Michael Hines (Acworth, Ga.) complete the Tech travel team.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “The greens are in transition from bent to bermuda, so they’re really firm. Driving the ball will not be real difficult, but the greens will be extremely tough. We typically play fast greens, so it won’t be something we haven’t seen before, but it will require some patience on our part. We’re trying to figure out who will play in the post-season, and we get to play everybody on our roster this weekend, so we’ll get a chance to see who can establish themselves.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 21st year 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). For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.