Feb. 23, 2016
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico – Chris Petefish shot a 2-under-par 70 for his lowest score of the year, earning a top-10 finish individually and leading Georgia Tech to a sixth-place finish in the Puerto Rico Classic.
TECH LINEUP – Petefish put together his best three rounds of the year (71-71-70) for a 4-under-par total of 212, which placed him in a tie for ninth and matched his best 54-hole finish – a tie for ninth at last spring’s Seminole Intercollegiate (211, -5). Tuesday, the junior from Danville, Calif., played a steady round with four birdies and two bogeys.
Sophomore James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) posted his best round of the tournament, a 1-under-par 71, while Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas), chipped in with a 73 and Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) shot 74. Joiner, who finished with a 3-under-par total of 213, tied for 11th place, his best position since winning the Carpet Capital Collegiate to open the fall season. Whaley tied for 27th at even-par 216.
Clark and Michael Hines (Acworth, Ga.), who shot 75 Tuesday, tied for 44th place.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Tech started on the fifth, sixth and seventh holes and put up four bogeys and a double bogey through the ninth hole, but again made up a lot of strokes on the back nine of the 6,945-yard River Course at Rio Mar Resort. The Jackets played the back nine six shots under par collectively, but gave back three shots to par at the finish to post an even-par 288 for the day.
Tech’s 54-hole total of 857 (-7) was the Yellow Jackets’ low score in six events this year, and they finished ahead of 14th-ranked Oklahoma and 15th-ranked Purdue.
No. 17 Alabama won the tournament for the second time in three years, leaving nothing to chance after beginning the round just one shot clear of 11th-ranked Clemson. The Crimson Tide shot 12-under-par 276 and completed 54 holes at 839 (-25). The Tigers remained in second with a 4-under-par round of 284, but finished nine shots back at 848 (-16). No. 10 Georgia was third at 851 (-13), followed by No. 28 Kentucky (853, -11) and No. 20 North Carolina (855, -9).
The 15 teams in the field are all ranked among the nation’s top 100 in the Golfstat rankings, including nine of the nation’s top 50 teams – Georgia (10), Clemson (11), Oklahoma (14), Purdue (15), Alabama (17), North Carolina (20), Kentucky (28), NC State (37), Georgia Tech (50), Michigan (55), Northwestern (58), UNC Greensboro (66), Virginia Tech (83), Maryland (81) and Minnesota (92).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Alabama’s Robby Shelton shot a closing 65 to finish the tournament at 11-under-par 205, overtaking his teammate, Jonathan Hardee, who carded a 69 Tuesday and finished at 10-under-par 206. NC State’s Carter Page was third at 208 (-8), while William Register of North Carolina, Stephen Behr of Clemson and David Kocher of Maryland tied for fourth at 210 (-6). Purdue’s Austin Eoff and Georgia’s Sepp Straka tied for seventh at 211 (-5).
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “I’m happy with the way the guys competed this weekend. The teams at the top of the leaderboard were all top-20 programs, and they held their own. We’re much closer to the level we need to reach. We’ve got three and a half weeks of work before we play again in South Florida, and we’ve got lots of things to improve in that time frame.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its 16th appearance in the Puerto Rico Classic, typically the second event on the Yellow Jackets’ spring schedule after its opening trip to Hawai’i, and is making its 23rd all-time trip to Puerto Rico for a collegiate event. The 54-hole event runs from Sunday through Tuesday with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. each day. It is played at the 6,945-yard, par 72 River Course at the Rio Mar Beach and Spa Resort.
The Yellow Jackets have finished second in the Puerto Rico Classic each of the last two years, posting a 5-under-par score of 859 last year and a 41-under-par 823 in 2014. Tech has won the tournament four times, most recently in 2005. Individual Tech champions include Troy Matteson (2002), Roberto Castro (2007) and James White (2011).