THE FLATS – Ready to take on a major championship venue in its second fall event, Georgia Tech’s sixth-ranked golf team is in Ohio for the Inverness Intercollegiate Monday and Tuesday at the Inverness Club in Toledo.
Head coach Bruce Heppler’s 28th Tech team, which has three All-Atlantic Coast Conference players back from 2021-22 and four individuals listed in the top 100 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking, is coming off a fourth-place finish in its first fall event, the Maui Jim Intercollegiate the second weekend of September.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets are competing in the Inverness Intercollegiate for the first time. Host to four men’s U.S. Open championships, two PGA Championships and two men’s NCAA Championships, Inverness is hosting this regular-season event, hosted by Toledo University, for the 16th time.
The tournament begins with 36 holes at 8:45 a.m. Monday, utilizing a shotgun start and no re-pairing for the first two rounds, followed by the final 18 holes Tuesday, with players starting on holes 1 and 10 beginning at 8:30 a.m.
The Inverness Club was founded in 1903, and along with the University of Toledo, served as host for the 2009 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships. Inverness hosted the 2021 Solheim Cup in addition to previously hosting four U.S. Opens, two U.S. Senior Opens, two PGA Championships and one U.S. Amateur. In the future, Inverness will host the 2027 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2029 U.S. Amateur.
All 16 schools competing in this year’s tournament were ranked in the Top 100 of last year’s Golfweek final rankings. Highlighting the field are five 2022 NCAA Championship participants – East Tennessee State, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas Tech – and seven more 2022 NCAA Regional qualifiers – Charlotte, Louisville, Notre Dame, Purdue, SMU, Virginia and Washington. The Sooners and Red Raiders both lost in the quarterfinals of match play at the NCAA Championships. Also competing in the tournament along with the Rockets will be Iowa, USC, and South Alabama.
Georgia Tech was ranked No. 6 in the first Bushnell/Golfweek Division I Coaches Poll and will be joined in the Glass City by No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 20 Notre Dame and No. 22 Washington. Also receiving votes in the poll were Ohio State, Purdue, SMU and Virginia.
Connor Howe tied for third at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate to open the fall season, and is No. 31 in the PGA Tour University ranking. (photo by Todd Drexler)
TECH LINEUP – With all five starters back from a team that finished 12th at the 2022 NCAA Championship, won five tournaments and earned a final top-10 national ranking, Georgia Tech entered the fall season ranked No. 3 by Golf Channel, No. 4 by Golfweek magazine and was No. 6 in the first in-season Bushnell Coaches Poll.
Heppler has assembled one of his most experienced teams, utilizing three seniors in Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) and Ross Steelman (Columbia, Mo.) along with Christo Lamprecht, a junior from George, South Africa. The quartet combined for 19 top-10 finishes a year ago, with Lamprecht and Steelman leading the way with six each. Forrester, who captured the team’s only individual title with a share of first place at The Calusa Cup, had four top-10 finishes and was low Yellow Jacket at the NCAA Championship (15th place).
Qualifying for Tech’s first two events has been fierce, however, and Forrester and Steelman will not compete at Inverness. Howe, by virtue of his third-place finish at the Maui Jim, was exempted from team qualifying, where the other 10 Yellow Jackets played 54 holes for a chance to grab one of the other four spots in the lineup this week. Lamprecht came out on top, followed by freshman Hiroshi Tai, sophomore Benjamin Reuter and junior Aidan Kramer.
Here’s a quick look at the Yellow Jackets competing this week, in order of their spot in the lineup …
Connor Howe (Senior, Ogden, Utah) – Moved up to No. 31 in the most recent PGA Tour University ranking and No. 59 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking after his third-place finish at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate … Fifth-year senior taking advantage of his COVID year after finishing 2021-22 No. 85 in the Golfstat rankings … Has six top-10 finishes the last two years, posting a career-low 70.94 stroke average in 2021-22 … Tied for 10th place at the Northeast Amateur and 18th at the Monroe Invitational last summer.
Christo Lamprecht (Junior, George, South Africa) – Pre-season third-team All-American and returning All-ACC player … Advanced to the second round of match play at the U.S. Amateur, tied for ninth at the European Amateur Championship, competed for South Africa at the World Amateur Team Championships and for the victorious International team at the Arnold Palmer Cup this summer … Ranked No. 39 in WAGR … Tied for 44th at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate (-1).
Hiroshi Tai (Freshman, Singapore) – Playing his second collegiate event after winning the individual event contested at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate (-14) … Enrolled at Tech last January after serving a 22-month stint in the Singapore Navy … Graduated from Windermere (Fla.) Prep in November 2020 prior to his military service … Made the cut (T44) in the Asian Tour’s International Series event in Singapore in August, beating out former Tech star and 2019 U.S. Amateur champ Andy Ogletree … Represented Singapore and tied for 58th at the World Amateur Team Championship … Tied for 12th at the Dogwood Invitational and tied for 19th at the Southeastern Amateur during the summer.
Benjamin Reuter (Junior, Naarden, The Netherlands) – Did not qualify for the team’s first event at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate but earned a spot this week … Ranked No. 204 in WAGR … Finished 16th in the Dutch Amateur Championship in August, 39th in the European Amateur Championship in June … Last spring, tied for fourth at the NCAA Columbus Regional and 22nd at the ACC Championship
Aidan Kramer (Junior, Oviedo, Fla.) – Won the team’s 54-hole qualifier at the Golf Club of Georgia to earn a spot in the Maui Jim Intercollegiate’s individual event … Played in two events, including the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, last year after not competing in 2020-21 … Played only two rounds, but averaged 69.50 and posted a 13th-place finish as an individual at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational … Won the Rice Planters Amateur last summer in a playoff over teammate Andy Mao, and tied for first but lost a playoff at the New year’s Invitational in Tampa.
Head coach Bruce Heppler
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 28th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 70 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 31 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.