April 6, 2017
THE FLATS – Continuing to gear up for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in three weeks, Georgia Tech’s 21st-ranked golf team returns to action this weekend by participating the second annual Clemson Invitational, which is being contested at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls in Salem, S.C.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION — The Clemson Invitational is a 54-hole event that begins Friday and runs through Sunday with 18 holes each day. It is played at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, a 7,200-yard, par 72 layout in Salem, S.C.
The Yellow Jackets finished second to the host team, Clemson, by 11 shots in the inaugural tournament last spring. Senior Vincent Whaley captured the second tournament title of his career with an 8-under-par score of 208, winning by two over Robin Sciot-Siegrist of Louisville. Junior James Clark tied for seventh place.
At No. 18 Clemson is the highest ranked team in the field, having won five events this season. Also in the field are Alabama (No. 38), Boston College, College of Charleston, Elon, Furman, Louisville, Michigan State (No. 34), Navy, SMU, UNC-Wilmington, and Winthrop. Alabama won the NCAA Championship in 2013 and 2014, while SMU has been a perennial top 25 team in recent years, including a top five finish in 2014. Georgia Tech won the 2015 ACC Championship after battling the Tigers to a tie after regulation play. Clemson then won the title last year.
TEAM UPDATE — Georgia Tech has risen to No. 21 in the latest Golfstat rankings and No. 19 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index after the first four spring events, largely on the strength of its second-place finish by one shot to Wake Forest at the Valspar Collegiate two weeks ago, which included 10 top-50 teams. The Yellow Jackets tied for second with Florida State at the Seminole Intercollegiate the week before. Previously this spring, Tech tied for seventh place in a 21-team field at the Amer Ari Invitational in Hawai’i and tied for for third among 15 teams at the Puerto Rico Classic. Tech has a 64-30-6 won-loss record cumulatively this year against a scheduled rated the 10th-strongest in the country, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Index (doesn’t include Cyrpess Point match play event in the fall).
TECH LINEUP — Head coach Bruce Heppler has set the Yellow Jackets’ lineup for the post-season, going with a core of three freshmen in Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.), Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) in his starting five, joining senior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) and junior James Clark (Columbus, Ga.), for the last two events.
Schniederjans and Strafaci have both landed in the winner’s circle this year, Stafaci most recently at the Valspar Collegiate, where he captured a one-shot victory and earned his third top-20 finish this spring. Schniederjans has won twice, including a one-shot win at the Puerto Rico Classic in February, and he tied for third at the Seminole Collegiate. Schniederjans leads the Jackets in stroke average at 70.95 and is ranked 44th in the nation in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. Strafaci creeped into the top 100 at No. 93 after winning the Valspar, and has a 71.67 stroke average.
Clark, ranked No. 106, has become a solid middle-of-the-lineup player for the Yellow Jackets this spring, finishing eighth and 17th in the last two events and compiling a 71.62 stroke average. Whaley returned to the lineup after a long absence at the Seminole Intercollegiate and tied for 20th place, then shot a final-round 70 to help the Jackets’ final-round rally at the Valspar. Ogletree has three top-20 finishes this year and a 72.62 stroke average.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS — “We’re excited to put a pencil to it again after some positive play at the Floridian. The golf course here is very demanding, and the green complexes will provide great preparation for what lies ahead in the post season. The weather tomorrow will challenge the guys and provide an opportunity for some emotional growth.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is entering its 22nd under head coach Bruce Heppler. 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.