Sept. 22, 2016
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s golf team makes the first of two trips to the Western time zone this fall when the 17th-ranked Yellow Jackets travel to Scottsdale, Ariz., this weekend for the inaugural Maui Jim Invitational.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Maui Jim Invitational is being played Friday through Sunday at Maribel County Club, a 7,147-yard, par 71 layout on Scottsdale, Ariz. It is the first time the event, hosted by Georgia State’s golf program, has been played. Competition gets underway at 6:50 a.m. local time Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. Sunday, off both the first and the 10th tees. Tech tees off the first hole Friday and off the 10th hole Saturday, both days at 8 a.m. local time, paired with 23rd-ranked California and 28th-ranked Baylor. Final-round tee times will be set based on 36-hole team scores.
The 16-team field includes No. 8 LSU and No. 20 South Carolina, both of whom advanced to the NCAA match play championship last spring, as well as top programs California and Houston.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech, ranked No. 17 in Golfweek magazine’s pre-season college golf survey, finished fifth in its first outing at the Carpet Capital Collegiate, two weeks ago in Rocky Face, Ga., and incoming freshman Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) won medalist honors competing as an individual.
Head coach Bruce Heppler has everybody back from his 2015-16 team which played in an NCAA regional last spring but did not advance to the NCAA finals. The roster includes seniors Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) and Michael Hines (Acworth, Ga.) and a trio of juniors in James Clark (Columbus, Ga.), Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) and Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.), who have combined to averaged 60 collegiate rounds in their careers. Heppler, in his 22nd season at the helm, has added a highly-regarded class of four freshmen, including Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.), Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.), Anton Serafini (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.), who were all rated among the top 100 junior golfer in their class.
TECH LINEUP – The Yellow Jackets held qualifying for four spots in the five-man travel roster. Freshman Luke Schniederjans held the only exemption after winning the Carpet Capital Collegiate in his college debut, putting together rounds of 69-66-70 for an 11-under-par total of 205 and a one-stroke victory over three pursuers.
Sophomore Tyler Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.), who tied for 25th at the Carpet Capital Collegiate after finishing with a 64 on Sunday, won the team’s 54-hole qualifying tournament this week and is on the travel squad along with Clark, who tied for 11th at the Carper Capital, and Petefish, who tied for 53rd.
Whaley, a two-time collegiate champion in his career, is back this week after not qualifying for Tech’s first event, and Ogletree, who won the Jackets’ pre-season qualifier and tied for 38th at the Carpet Capital, will compete as an individual.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We try to recruit nationally and expose our players to different playing environments. We played a regional in the desert last spring, and it’s different than what we’re used to around here. We try to play in as many different climates, grasses and different situations as we can. This is a good opportunity to try something new.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is entering its 22nd 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) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.