Oct. 25, 2011
Alpharetta, Ga. – Georgia Tech appeared ready to put its name on the trophy for the second straight year at the United States Collegiate Championship, but the Yellow Jackets faltered on the back nine Tuesday at the Golf Club of Georgia and finished in fourth place, 12 strokes behind champion UCLA.
The 24th-ranked Bruins, who have twice been a runner-up in the event, including last fall when the Jackets ran away with a 27-shot win, broke through Tuesday with a 5-under-par round of 283 and captured a three-shot victory over No. 6 Washington and No. 4 Auburn. UCLA finished with a 54-hole total of 852, 12 under par. The Huskies and the Tigers both played well Tuesday (3-under 285) and tied for second at 855, 9 shots under par.
Head coach Bruce Heppler’s team appeared poised to take the title again on its home course, beginning the day at 10 under par for the tournament and two strokes ahead of the Bruins. The Jackets went deeper into red figures during the front nine, getting to 17 under par at one point, and extended their lead to seven shots.
But Tech could manage just four birdies on the back side and recorded six double bogeys, sliding all the way back to even par for the tournament by the time Bo Andrews birdied the 18th. UCLA, Washington and Auburn continued to play subpar golf and battled for the lead throughout the back nine before the Bruins emerged.
“There are a lot of positive things we can take away from this fall,” said Heppler. “But this is the third time that the whole group has caved in. You can’t do that. When you have a lead like we had, all you need is a couple of them to step up and play the back nine well. It’s disappointing because it’s a place they know well.
“These are really good teams. What this tournament has done is identify winners. There’s no faking it. UCLA has got a good team, and they played well.”
Andrews wound up with a 73 for the day and tied for eighth place individually at 3-under 213 for the tournament. It was his second straight to10 finish. All-American James White shot a 76 and managed to earn his third straight top 20 finish (T19) to close out the fall schedule.
Minghao Wang shot a 74 for the Jackets Tuesday and tied for 46th place at 223, while freshman Anders Albertson added a 75 and tied for 31st at 220. Seth Reeves finished in a tie for 26th at 219 after a closing 79. Among Tech’s players competing as individuals, Richard Werenski had the highest finish, tying for 22nd at 218.
Auburn’s Dominic Bozzelli and Texas A&M’s Johannes Veerman shared co medalist honors with 54-hole totals of 6-under 210. Patrick Cantlay, the nation’s top amateur player, was in a group of five players tied for second place at 4-under 212.