April 21, 2016
THE FLATS – Looking to continue a remarkable run of eight conference titles in the last 10 years, Georgia Tech’s golf team heads to North Carolina this weekend for the 53rd Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Golf Championship, which begins Friday at the Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION — The ACC Championship is contested over 54 holes, with 18 holes played each day Friday through Sunday. It is being played for the 15th straight year and for the 20th time overall at the Old North State Club, a 7,102-yard, par 72 layout in adjacent to Badin Lake in New London, N.C.
Six of the 12 teams competing in the conference championship appear in the most recent Golfstat top 25 — Florida State (7), Wake Forest (11), Clemson (12), Duke (20), Virginia (24) and North Carolina (25). Others in the top 50 include NC State (34) and Georgia Tech (48). Virginia Tech is No. 121, and Notre Dame is No. 138.
Seeding for the championship is based on Golfstat rankings. Georgia Tech is the eighth seed, and will be paired for the first round with No. 7 NC State and No. 9 Louisville, teeing off at 9:30 a.m.
Live coverage of the championship will be streamed on ESPN3 Saturday (3-5 p.m.) and Sunday (1-3:30 p.m.).
TEAM UPDATE — Georgia Tech is ranked No. 50 in the latest Golfstat rankings and No. 39 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. The Yellow Jackets have finished third (Princeton Invitational) and second (Clemson Invitational) in their last two tournaments, their best showings in a spring that has been difficult.
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, three weeks after posting their lowest score of the year (857, -7) in a sixth-place finish at the Puerto Rico Classic.
Tech has a 78-55 won-loss record cumulatively this year against a schedule rated the 14th-toughest in the country, and a 15-36-1 mark against top-25 teams. Only top-ranked Texas and No. 5 Stanford have faced more top-25 teams than have the Yellow Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets posted high finishes of fifth place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate and the United States Collegiate Championship in the fall.
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 three of top-5 finishes to his credit this year, including a victory at the Clemson Invitational. He also tied for fifth at the Amer Ari Invitational with a career-low score of 207 (-9) and tied for ninth at the Princeton Invitational. He is ranked No. 72 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, and leads the Jackets with a 72.12 stroke average and a 72.6 won-loss percentage.
Also on the trip is sophomore Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.), who is ranked No. 210 in the Sagarin Index despite a victory at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in the fall and four other top-20 finishes, including a tie for 11th at the Puerto Rico Classic and a tie for 12th at Princeton this spring. Joiner is second on the team in won-loss percentage and stroke average (73.82).
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 74.00. Sophomore James Clark (Columbus, Ga.), who has one top-10 finish (Clemson) and a 73.96 stroke average, and junior Michael Hines (Acworth, Ga.) complete the Tech travel team.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS — “Anytime you go somewhere you’ve been it helps, especially if they had a positive experience. Three of the guys are coming off winning the tournament last year. Hopefully, even though the year has been rocky at times, we’re coming back to a familiar place, a home we’ve stayed in before, and maybe get the wind at our backs a little. If we can play a really good first round, then we start thinking maybe this is how we should be playing.”
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.