Jackets Make NCAA Elite Eight

June 3, 2010

Friday’s quarterfinal pairings (Stanford is the playoff winner)
Complete results, tee times and live scoring |  Webcast of holes 16, 17 and 18
Hadley video interview |  Haley video interview
Images from Round 3

Ooltewah, Tenn. – Chesson Hadley shot a 3-under-par 69 Thursday, leading Georgia Tech to a 2-under 286 team score and a third-place finish in the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship. The Yellow Jackets advance to the match play portion of the championship, where they will play Augusta State at 11:15 a.m. Friday.

The first round of match play competition begins at 9 a.m. Friday at The Honors Course, with top-seeded Oklahoma State facing a No. 8 seed still to be determined. No. 4 Washington will face No. 5 Oregon at 9:45 a.m., and No. 2 Florida State will meet No. 7 Texas Tech at 10:30 a.m.

Seedings were determined by their standing at the end of the 54-hole stroke-play portion of the championship. Stanford, Arizona State and San Diego finished the third round Thursday tied for eighth place, and will play off for the final spot Friday morning for the right to play the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State, trailing Florida State by five shots entering the final round, shot 5-under-par 283 and were remarkably consistent during the stroke-play competition. Their three rounds of 283, 284 and 283 gave them a 14-under-par tournament total of 850, four shots clear of the Seminoles, who finished at 10-under-par 854.

Tech finished at 6-under 858, followed by Washington at 4-under 860, Oregon at 3-under 861, Augusta State at 1-under 863 and Texas Tech at 3-over 867. The Stanford, ASU and San Diego finished at 4-over 868.

The Yellow Jackets started fast, recording four birdies at the first hole, and got its tournament score to 8-under-par at one point on the front nine. But they fell back by the turn, watching a margin of eight shots ahead of eighth place dwindle down to one while falling into fifth place.

Head coach Bruce Heppler’s team recovered by recording nine birdies from the 13th hole on and held a firm grip on third place coming into the final hole.

“We struggled in the middle of the round, no doubt,” said Heppler, a leading proponent of changing the tournament format to a combination of stroke play and match play a year ago. “But we’ve stuck with our goal of playing every hole, and we were able to get some birdies coming in and finish strong. I’m very pleased with the way all of our guys have played, and excited about moving on.”

The Cowboys, trailing Florida State by five shots entering the final round, shot 5-under-par 283 and were remarkably consistent during the stroke-play competition. Their three rounds of 283, 284 and 283 gave them a 14-under-par tournament total of 850, four shots clear of the Seminoles, who finished at 10-under-par 854.

Hadley, a senior from Raleigh, N.C., finished the stroke-play portion of the event at 3-under-par 213, tying with three others for 14th place. Paul Haley, a junior from Dallas, Texas, shot a 73 Thursday to post a 4-under-par total of 212 and finish in a four-way tie for ninth. The top 15 finishers at the NCAA Championship are automatically named All-Americans by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

Tech also counted a 72 from sophomore James White Thursday and a 73 from junior John-Tyler Griffin. Griffin finished the tournament at 1-under 215 and tied for 25th place.

Scott Langley of Illinois captured medalist honors after shooting a 6-under 66 Thursday, winning by two shots over Alex Ching of San Diego, the second-round leader, and Peter Uhlein of Oklahoma State. Langley, whose team finished well out of contention, finished 54 holes at 10-under 206.

In the match play format, the No. 5 players from each team play an 18-hole match, followed by individual matches between each team’s No. 4, 3, 2 and 1 players. The winner of each match scores one point for his team. All matches begin at the first tee and are played under standard match play rules.

The first team to accumulate three points wins the match and advances to the semifinals on Saturday, where the winner of the #1/8 match meets the winner of the #4/5 match at 9 a.m. The winner of the #2/7 match faces the #3/6 winner at 9:45 a.m. Those winners will meet for the national championship Sunday at 12 noon.

Tech, which tied for 10th place after 54 holes last year, the first year this format was used, has not played in a match-play event of any type the fall of 2007, in which it finished second in the Callaway Golf Match Play Championship in Greensboro, Ga. The Yellow Jackets have played in that event four times, reaching the finals three of those four times and compiling a 12-4 match record.

Post-Round Quotes

Georgia Tech Head Coach Bruce Heppler

On the team’s play today:
“We got down to 2-over par with about six to go. You’ve got to play 15 and 16 and that pin was cut left. It was easy to hit it long there. You count on a couple of birdies on 17, but then you have to play 18. I was a little worked up at one point, but that is part of it. One hole doesn’t get you in and one hole doesn’t get you out.”

On how your team will perform in match play:
“We did play some matches in the season to get ready for that, but our focus was to worry about that when the time comes. I am a big believer that 69 beats 72. There will be a few moments in there where it is match play, but if you beat your guy straight-up, then most of the times you are going to win your match. We are playing The Honors Course and that is what we will focus on, not the other team.”

Georgia Tech Junior Paul Haley

On his round:
“I started off with a birdie on No. 1 and unfortunately on No. 2, when I put my putter down the ball moved, so I got a penalty stroke there. I played pretty steadily, but finished bogey, bogey for a 73, which kind of stings. It has been a pretty good week so far.”

On finishing within the top 10:
“If you would have told me that in the beginning of the week, then I probably would have taken it. I put myself in position to possible win the tournament. I still played well today, but did not make enough putts.”

Georgia Tech Senior Chesson Hadley

On what his team has accomplished:
“Obviously, my 69 today helps the team a lot. Ultimately, the goal is to win a national championship as a team. I think we are going to be a sleeper. We all have been playing really well of late. It started out at the ACC’s (Championship). We were pretty dominant from the beginning there and we played well, especially the last day. We are all very confident and comfortable. Hopefully, we can continue to make some putts.”

On the differences from match play and stroke play:
“I think it is going to be an easy transition, all the pressure is off now. It is just time to go get it. As far as stroke play, you are playing the course. In match play, you are playing the player. If your opponent hits one into the trees, then you are going to be a little more cautious off the tee and be in the fairway. Also, if he makes seven and you make six, then you still win the hole. It is more relaxed and exciting way to play golf. I love match play, so I am looking forward to the next couple of days.”


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