June 1, 2015
Bradenton, Fla. – Freshman James Clark shot a 2-under-par 70 to pace Georgia Tech Monday, but the 12th-ranked Yellow Jackets came up three strokes short and failed to advance to match play at the NCAA Golf Championship at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
Tech posted a team total of 290 (+10), leaving it in ninth place after 72 holes at 23-over-par 1175. Tied for eighth place with UCLA at the beginning of the round, the Jackets were unable to keep up with the Bruins after a 59-minute rain delay about midway through the round. UCLA held on for the eighth spot by shooting 6-over 294 and finished the tournament at 20-over 1172.
Thus, Tech missed match play for only the second time in its six NCAA finals appearances since the stroke-play/match-play format has been in use.
TECH LINEUP – Tech held on through the first nine holes of its round before a 59-minute weather delay, then fell back of the Bruins by as many as eight shots. The Jackets rallied, however, moving within one stroke (Tech +21, UCLA +20) after Anders Albertson got the team’s third birdie on the par-5 seventh hole (Tech started on the back nine Monday). A double bogey at 6 and a bogey at 7 from Ollie Schniederjans pushed Tech four shots behind the Bruins, and the Jackets could not recover from there.
Clark, a freshman from Columbus, Ga., played the second nine 2-under-par and finished with a 70, the team’s low round of the day. Albertson, the two-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion, finished his Tech career with a 74 and a sour taste in his mouth after rules officials docked him a stroke for slow play (which had no bearing on the final outcome). Vincent Whaley, a sophomore from McKinney, Texas, who has shot 71-68 the last two days, couldn’t muster the same magic Monday and shot 76. Freshman Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) played the second nine in 2-under-par and finished with a 77.
Schniederjans, the two-time ACC Player of the Year, also finished his career on a sour note with a non-counting 78.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Illinois shot a 6-under-par round of 282 to tally past Georgia and win first place in the stroke-play portion of the championship. The fourth-ranked Illini finishes 72 holes at 1155 (+3). Vanderbilt shot 3-under-par 285 Monday and took second at 1157 (+5), while the Bulldogs and Texas (-4 Monday) tied for third at 6-over 1158. Georgia won the third seed for the match play quarterfinals, which will begin Tuesday morning. Southern California (+9), South Florida (+16), LSU (+17) and UCLA (+20 are the fifth through eighth seeds.
Quarterfinal matches Tuesday pit Illinois vs. UCLA, Vanderbilt vs. LSU, Georgia vs. South Florida and Texas vs. Southern Cal.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – SMU’s Bryson Dechambeau (8-under-par 280) shot 1-under 71 Monday and won the NCAA individual championship by a stroke over Washington’s Cheng-Tsung Pan (7-under 281), who shot 67 Monday. Vanderbilt’s Hunter Stewart, with a 68 Monday, and Illinois’ Thomas Detry tied for third at 6-under-par 282. Ten individuals completed 72 holes under par.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We got close, but every time we got close, we made some mistakes. They fought hard. Clark had an incredible round. I think we got within one at one point, but it just didn’t work out for us in the end. Ninth in the tournament is pretty good, I guess, but you want to keep playing, and we don’t get to. Those young kids were part of all this, and they had a great experience, and they’re the foundation of our future.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The 2015 NCAA Championship is being played at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., which measures 7,483 yards and plays to a par of 72. This is the seventh year the NCAA has used the stroke play-to-match play format, in which the top eight teams after stroke play are seeded for team match play to decide the team champion.
TOURNAMENT FIELD – The Yellow Jackets are in the championship for the 27th time since 1985, which is tied for fourth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (30), Florida (29) and Arizona State (28). All three of those teams are in this year’s field. Of the 30 teams in the field, all are ranked among Golfstat’s top 50 teams, with the lowest ranked team being No. 47 Charlotte, champion of the Chapel Hill Regional. Top-ranked Florida State is the top seed, followed by No. 2 Texas and No. 3 Arizona State. Illinois, Vanderbilt and South Carolina are the next three seeds. All of the Golfstat top 17 teams are in the field.
TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals for the 27 times since 1985 (28 times in program history), and has posted nine top-8 finishes in the last 14 tries.
The Yellow Jackets tied for 10th in 2009, the first-year of the stroke-play/match-play format, but qualified for match play each of the last four times they have advanced to the NCAA Championship before this year (third in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014). Tech did not advance out of its regional in 2012. Tech lost to the eventual champion three times – Augusta State by the score of 3-2 in the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011 and to Alabama (3-0-2) in 2013.
REMAINING CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
June 2 – Match play quarterfinals, 7 a.m. (Golf Channel, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)
June 2 – Match play semifinals, 1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel, 3-8 p.m. ET)
June 3 – Championship match, 2:10 p.m. (Golf Channel, 1-8 p.m. ET)