March 22, 2016
Palm City, Fla. – Chris Petefish fired a 1-under-par 70, and Michael Pisciotta added a 72 in the afternoon round Monday as Georgia Tech battled back from a tough opening round and moved into 13th place after 36 holes at The Floridian National Golf Club in Palm City, Fla.
TECH LINEUP – Petefish, a sophomore from Danville, Calif., birdied six holes to offset one double-bogey and a bogey in the afternoon for the Yellow Jackets’ only subpar score of the day. Pisciotta birdied five holes in his round, including a pair of par 3s. Vincent Whaley shot a 74 and James Clark a 77 to give Tech a second-round total of 293 (+9), one of the better rounds posted in the afternoon. The Jackets discounted a 77 from Jacob Joiner.
Tech barely escaped the cellar after the opening 18 holes, posting a 23-over-par total of 307, two shots ahead of seventh-ranked Florida. Whaley and Petefish each shot 76, each recording four birdies in their round but just as many holes of bogey or worse. Pisciotta added a 77 and Clark a 78, each making birdie on three holes during their rounds, while Tech threw out an 82 from Joiner. Only No. 8 Texas was able to break par for the morning round, turning in a 1-under score of 283.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Texas was unable to break par in the afternoon round (287, +3) but maintained a 10-stroke lead over LSU. The Longhorns have a 36-hole total of 570 (+2), while the Tigers are at 580 (+12). No. 13 Oklahoma State is in third at 583 (+15), followed closely by No. 29 Texas A&M (584) and No. 17 South Florida (585). No. 11 Clemson, No. 36 Houston and No. 3 Illinois are all within 10 strokes of second place.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Gavin Hall of Texas fired rounds of 69-68 and has a three-stroke advantage in the medal race at 5-under-par 137. LSU’s Zach Wright and Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge are tied for second place at 140 (-2). Houston’s Blair Hamilton, Illinois’ Charlie Danielson and Texas A&M’s Chandler Phillips are tied for fourth at 1-under-par 141. South Carolina’s Matthew NeSmith is alone in seventh place at even-par 140.
Tech’s Petefish is low Yellow Jacket, tied for 16th place at 146 (+4).
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We started in a really tough spot on the course and got knocked around pretty good. With the conditions being what they were getting started poorly makes it really tough. But I’m pleased with how the competed in the afternoon. We handled the same tough starting holes better and then played the scoring holes well at the end. This is a terrific field and tough golf course.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its third appearance in the Valspar Invitational, which began two years ago and has become one of the spring’s premier events at one of Florida’s top golf venues. The 54-hole event begins Monday with two 18-hole rounds and concludes with the final 18 holes Tuesday. It is played at the 7,114-yard, par 71 Floridian National Golf Club, part of The Floridian Resort and Spa.
All 15 teams competing at the 2016 Valspar Collegiate Invitational are ranked among the top 50 in the latest Golfstat national rankings with four of the top 10 and 10 of the top 25. The field includes #3 Illinois, #5 Florida State, #7 Florida, #8 Texas, #11 Clemson, #13 Oklahoma State, #17 USF, #18 South Carolina, #22 LSU, #23 Arkansas, #29 Texas A&M, #36 Houston,#38 Memphis, #45 Georgia Tech and #48 Kent State.
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.