Scottsdale, Ariz. – Andy Ogletree birdied five of his final seven holes, and Tyler Strafaci scored three straight birdies at 15, 16 and 17 Sunday, leading No. 7 Georgia Tech from behind to capture the team title at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate in Scottsdale, Ariz.
It is the 54th tournament victory for Yellow Jackets in their 24th season under head coach Bruce Heppler, kept Tech unbeaten in regulation stroke play this fall and avenged a one-stroke loss to Arizona State in last year’s event.
TECH LINEUP – The Yellow Jackets rallied by playing the back nine holes at Mirabel Golf Club in 9-under-par Sunday, piling up 15 birdies. Ogletree, 1-over for the round at the turn, began his surge with birdies at 12 and 13, and the junior from Little Rock, Miss., finished with birdies on his final two holes to card a 67, Tech’s top score on Sunday. He finished the tournament in a tie for 18th place at 5-under-par 205.
Likewise, Strafaci struggled early in the final round, 3-over at the turn, but birdied 15, 16 and 17 in succession and finished with an even-par 70. The junior from Davie, Fla., finished in a tie for sixth place individually at 8-under-par 202 with sophomore Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.), who shot 2-under-par 68 Sunday.
Junior Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) went 2-under on the back nine to post a 68 and tied for 12th place overall at 7-under-par 203.
Senior James Clark (Columbus, Ga.), who birdied two of his last three holes Sunday, tied for 48th place at 213 (+3). Freshman Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah), competing as an individual, shot 67 on Sunday and enjoyed a solid collegiate debut, tying for 30th place at 209 (-1).
Notable: For the second straight tournament, Tech led the field in birdies by a wide margin, recording 73 to Arizona State’s 60. The Jackets accumulated 75 in the Carpet Capital Collegiate, 14 more than Clemson. Tech also led the field in par-4 scoring (-20) by a wide margin (LSU was -10). Eleven of Tech’s 15 birdies on the back nine Sunday came on par-4 holes.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Georgia Tech began the round in third place and two strokes behind No. 19 Arizona State, but the Yellow Jackets’ closing score of 273 (-7) pushed them two strokes ahead of the Sun Devils, who played the back nine 1-over-par and posted a 3-under-par 277. Tech finished with a 54=hole score of 812 (-28), with ASU in second at 814 (-26).
The Sun Devils not only defeated Tech by a stroke in this event last year, but beat out the Yellow Jackets on the final hole of the NCAA Raleigh Regional to advance to the NCAA Championship finals.
No. 9 LSU, who led after the opening round and was tied with ASU to begin the final round, shot even-par 280 and wound up in third place at 817 (-23). The Tigers were followed by NC State (819, -21), No. 6 Auburn (921, -19) and No. 13 Clemson (823, -17).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer shot 67-63-65 over the weekend to finish at 15-under-par 195, two strokes ahead of Arizona State’s Chun An Yu, who fired a 67 and finished at 13-under-par 197.
NC State’s Stephen Franken and Benjamin Shipp, along with Oregon’s Edwin Yi, tied for third place at 9-under-par 201. Strafaci and Norton were in a group of six players tied for sixth at 202 (-8).
COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAID – “The same thing happened on Saturday. We got behind early, but played those holes very well. When you play against good teams, it’s going to come down to the last holes. Our guys played a lot of good golf coming in today when they needed to.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Maui Jim Intercollegiate was contested at Mirabel Golf Club, a 7,081-yard, par 70 layout on Scottsdale, Ariz., for the second time in the three-year history of the event. Last year’s event, hosted by Georgia State’s golf program, was played at Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree, Ariz., while Mirabel was being renovated. Tech finished second in last year’s tournament, by one stroke to Arizona State, with three Yellow Jackets finishing among the top 20 individuals, led by Tyler Strafaci (T4).
The 14-team field included host Georgia State, Arizona State, Auburn, Augusta, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Houston, Kansas State, Kent State, LSU, Minnesota, NC State, Oregon and Oregon State.
Tech returns to action Oct. 8-9 at the Jack Nicklaus Collegiate in Dublin, Ohio.