Jan. 31, 2018
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s golf team, ranked No. 3 in the Golfstat rankings and No. 4 in the Golfweek/Sagaring Index as the spring collegiate season begins, opens its spring season for the 20th time at the Amer Ari Invitational, which begins Thursday at the Waikoloa Beach Resort’s Kings Course.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its 20th appearance in the Amer Ari Invitational, which has been the traditional spring opener for the Yellow Jackets every year since 1999, with one exception. The 27th annual event, which runs through Saturday, is a 54-hole stroke-play tournament played at the 7,074-yard, par 72 Kings Course at the Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Kona Coast of Hawai’i.
The Yellow Jackets have won this event five times, all between 2000 and 2007, and six Yellow Jackets have won or shared the individual title, including Matt Kuchar (shared title in 2000 and 2001), Carlton Forrester (shared title in 2000), Bryce Molder (shared title in 2001), Troy Matteson (2003) and Cameron Tringale (2007).
The 18-team field, which gets stronger each year, boasts four of the nation’s top 10 teams (No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 8 Auburn, No. 10 Stanford), seven of the top 25 (No. 14 Texas Tech, No. 16 Texas, No. 19 Southern California) and 10 of the nation’s top 50 in the current rankings. Two of those teams, No. 11 Texas and No. 22 Oregon, faced off in the NCAA Championship match last spring. Five of the top 10 individuals in the nation are on those teams.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech is ranked No. 3 in the latest Golfstat rankings and No. 4 in the Golfweek Sagarin Index after a fall season in which the Yellow Jackets won the Carpet Capital Collegiate and the Franklin American Mortgage Collegiate, and also posted a runner-up finish at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate and finished fourth against an ultra-strong field at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate.
TECH LINEUP – Senior Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) joins sophomores Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.), Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) and freshman Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.) on the Yellow Jackets’ travel roster, while senior Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) will compete as an individual.
Schniederjans (No. 38), Joiner (No. 41), Strafaci (No. 91) and Ogletree (No. 94) all rank among Golfstat’s top 100 individuals, while Norton is No. 128. The quintet logged seven top-10 finishes between them in the fall, with each player posting at least one. Joiner, Schniederjans and Strafaci each average under 72 for their stroke averages, with Norton and Ogletree just above.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “Our trip over was easy, and we’ve played a couple of rounds at a couple other resorts. The weather has been gorgeous. You can feel a difference from a year ago with the experience our team has gained over a year. We got a couple of good days of work in Tuesday and Wednesday, and we’re ready to go. Throughout the fall, we played better in every tournament, and I expect to continue to see some growth. The field is great, and this is a good starting point for the spring. We’ll get a good indication of there we fit in the national.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 23rd under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 51 tournaments in his tenure. 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.