THE FLATS – Defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Georgia Tech, 2019 NCAA Champion Stanford and NCAA match play participants Texas A&M and Wake Forest are among the 14 teams set to compete in the 14th edition of The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational, hosted by Georgia Tech on Oct. 18-20 at The Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta.
This year’s 54-hole event, which annually attracts one of the strongest fields in college golf, has 12 NCAA Championship participants in the field. In addition to Stanford, who defeated Texas in the 2019 championship match, the Aggies and Demon Deacons, Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, Pepperdine, Southern California and TCU are entered in addition to Tech. UCLA, which finished last spring ranked No. 29, Tennessee (No. 32), Virginia (No. 53) and East Tennessee State (No. 75) round out the field.
“We’re excited to host what has long been one of college golf’s best events,” said head coach Bruce Heppler. “Every year, the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational stands as one of the three or four best collegiate tournaments because of the venue, the strong field and the overall experience that the competitors and teams enjoy. The 2019 field may be the best we have ever had. We enjoy showing off The Golf Club of Georgia as well. It is a special place and a major part of our program. The winner will have earned a very special trophy.”
The Collegiate Invitational this year includes five former champions. Tech (2010, 2012), Clemson (2006, 2009) and Southern Cal (2008, 2018) have each won the tournament twice, while UCLA (2011), Virginia (2016) and Wake Forest (2015) have each won once. Besides Tech and ETSU, who each have competed in all 13 Golf Club of Georgia events, Clemson and UCLA have been the tournament’s most frequent participants (12 each), followed by Wake Forest (11) and Texas A&M (10). Tennessee is returning for the first time since playing in the inaugural event in 2006.
The Trojans outlasted Clemson by one stroke to win last fall, while Georgia Tech finished third, three shots off the pace. Stanford, whose best finish has been a runner-up showing in 2009, finished ninth.
The roster of competitors throughout the history of the event is littered with current PGA Tour professionals, including Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans (2013 champion), Roberto Castro, Chesson Hadley, Cameron Tringale and Richy Werenski, Alabama’s Bud Cauley and Michael Thompson, BYU’s Daniel Summerhays, Clemson’s Kyle Stanley, Florida’s Matt Every and Billy Horschel, Florida State’s Jonas Blixt and Brooks Koepka, Georgia’s Brian Harman, LSU’s Sam Burns, Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, Southern California’s Jamie Lovemark, Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers (2012 champion), Texas’ Beau Hossler, UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay, Wake Forest’s Webb Simpson (2007 champion) and Washington’s C.T. Pan.
The Golf Club of Georgia is home to a pair of the finest courses in the entire state of Georgia. Presently, the Lakeside and Creekside courses are listed among Golf Digest’s “Top 20 Best Courses” in Georgia and have maintained this lofty ranking for many years. The Lakeside course (7,017 yards), on which the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate has been contested each year, received immediate acclaim in 1991 when it was named Best New Private Course in the United States.
Over the years, The Golf Club of Georgia, has hosted PGA Champions Tour events, the historic Georgia Cup which annually pits the reigning amateur champions from the United States and Great Britain prior to their participation at The Masters, U.S. Open qualifiers, the Georgia Amateur and other Georgia PGA sanctioned events.
Admission to The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational Hosted by Georgia Tech is complimentary and open to the public. For more information, visit GolfClubofGeorgia.com.
Luke Schniederjans tied for second place at last year’s Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational.
JACKETS IN AMATEUR GOLF THIS WEEK
Luke Schniederjans and Tyler Strafaci are in the field for this week’s Western Amateur Championship, which began Tuesday and runs through Saturday at Point O’ Woods Golf Club in Benton Harbor, Mich. Billed as “the Masters of amateur golf,” the Western is the last major amateur event before the U.S. Amateur, which begins Aug. 12 in Pinehurst, N.C.
The Western Amateur has a 156-player field for 72 holes of stroke play, 18 holes Tuesday and Wednesday followed by a cut, and 36 holes Thursday. After 72 holes, the top 16 finishers face off in match play, with two rounds Friday, and the semifinals and championship match Saturday.
Strafaci, a senior from Davie, Fla., reached the semifinals of last year’s Western Amateur at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Northfield, Ill., and his father, Frank, won medalist honors at the 1953 event. Charlie Yates remains the only Georgia Tech golfer ever to win the Western Amateur, capturing the title in 1935 in Omaha, Neb. Yates also won medalist honors in 1937 in Los Angeles.
Strafaci finished 10th (276, -4) last week at the Porter Cup, while teammate Noah Norton (junior, Chico, Calif.) tied for fifth place (275, -5), and sophomore Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) tied for 44th (286 (+6).
In other action, sophomore Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.) captured his second title this summer, teaming with junior golfer Braden Falk to win the KCC Invitational, a two-man match play event at Kalamazoo Country Club.
ACC NETWORK – COMING AUG. 22
The ACC Network is a linear and digital platform dedicated to 24/7 coverage of ACC sports. It will exclusively televise approximately 450 live events each year, including approximately 40 football games (beginning with Georgia Tech’s 2019 season opener at Clemson on Aug. 29), as well as 150 men’s and women’s basketball contests.
Don’t get shut out! For more information and to learn if your cable/satellite/digital provider is committed to carrying the ACC Network, visit GetACCN.com. Georgia Tech fans whose cable/satellite/digital providers aren’t already committed to carrying the ACC Network are urged to contact their providers and ask for the ACC Network to be a part of their subscription.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 25th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 59 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 29 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 (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.