Feb. 2, 2017
Waikoloa, Hawai’i – Freshman Tyler Strafaci fired a 3-under-par 69 Thursday, and Georgia Tech put together a strong finish to its opening round to finish at even-par 288 and stand in 11th place after the opening round of the 26th annual Amer Ari Invitational at the Waikoloa Village Resort.
TECH LINEUP – Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) birdied three holes with no bogeys over his first 16 holes, then finished eagle-double bogey for his lowest round of the year. He is tied for 12th place individually, five shots off the lead.
The other three counting Yellow Jackets gained eight strokes to par collectively over their finishing holes. Freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) birdied four of his last five holes to finish with a 72. Freshman Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) birdied two of his last four holes for a 73, and junior Michael Pisciotta (Alpharetta, Ga.) birdied two of his last three holes to post a 74.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Georgia Tech’s 288 put it in the middle of the 21-team field after 18 holes, 18 strokes behind Texas Tech (270), which had three players break 70. No. 7 Southern California, with four players under 70, posted a 273 (-15) for second place, while No. 6 Stanford shot 10-under-par 278. Colorado and TCU are tied for fourth place at 7-under-par 281.
No. 10 Texas(284), No. 42 UCLA (285), No. 20 Oregon (285), No. 4 Oklahoma State (286) and No. 33 Arizona State (286) round out the top 10.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Arizona State’s Jared du Toit and Southern California’s Kyle Suppa are tied for the 18-hole lead after carding 8-under-par 64s on Thursday. TCU’s Stefano Mazzoli is a shot behind after posting a 65. Texas Tech teammates Fredrik Nilehn and Federico Zuchetti are tied for fourth at 66.
Forty-two of the 120 players in the field broke par in mild conditions (78 degrees, winds at eight miles per hour) on the 7,074-yard Kings Course.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We had a pretty tough start, but they did play some of the score-able holes well at the end of the day. With a shot gun start and the wind changing, you really don’t know how things stack up until the scores are posted. Tyler and Andy had very good rounds.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its 19th 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 54-hole event, which runs through Saturday, is played at the 7,074-yard, par 72 Kings Course at the Waikoloa Resort on the Kona Coast of Hawai’i.
The 21-team field, which gets stronger each year, boasts four of the nation’s top 10 teams – No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Southern California and No. 8 Auburn, and 11 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.