March 10, 2017
Tallahassee, Fla. – Freshman Luke Schniederjans fired a 6-under-par 66 Friday to grab a share of the individual lead, and 25th-ranked Georgia Tech rallied on the back nine to post a 12-under-par 276 and stands in third place after the opening round of the 41st annual Seminole Intercollegiate at Southwood Golf Club.
TECH LINEUP — Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.), who has already won twice this year, including the Puerto Rico Classic two weeks ago, posted his best opening round of the year, recording seven birdies against just one bogey. He started fast, birdieing three of his first five holes, then finished strong with two in his last three holes.
All four Tech counters broke par Friday. Junior James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) birdied two of his final three holes to post a 3-under-par 69, and is tied for 12th place, and freshman Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) birdied four of his last six for a 2-under-par 70. He is tied for 20th place. Senior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) provided the other counting score with a 1-under 71 and is tied for 30th.
Freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) did not count for the Jackets after stumbling out of the gate, but finished strong with three birdies in his last five holes for a 75. Junior Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.), competing as an individual, shot 69 to join tie for 12th.
TEAM LEADERBOARD — Penn State rode a 66 from Cole Miller and a 68 from Christian Elliott to post a 15-under-par 273 Friday, rallying past host 30th-ranked Florida State on the back nine. The host Seminoles, one of the first teams to finish Friday, had all five of their players under par for the day to post a 14-under 274. The Yellow Jackets are another two strokes back at 276 (-12), and West Virginia finished at 277 (-11).
Six other teams in the 14-team field are under par after 18 holes — Jacksonville (281, -7), James Madison (282, -6). VCU (283, -5), Southern Illinois (284 (-4), Troy (285, -3) and Western Kentucky (286, -2).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD — Luke Schniederjans, Penn State’s Cole Miller and Winthrop’s Zach Seabolt all shot 66 Friday and are one shot ahead of a group of four players — Jacksonville’s David Wicks, FSU’s Harry Ellis, Troy’s Jared Bettcher and VCU’s Alister Balcombe — who shot 67.
Four more players shot 68 (-4), while Clark and Joiner are in a eight-player tie at 69. A total of 38 players in the 81-player field broke par Friday.
COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAYS – “We struggled at the start like we have in our previous events this year, but we were able to right the ship on the back nine. The course is such that we can score better than we did. We’re still a young team that has some growing up to do. Luke is having a tremendous year and had a very good round today. The forecast is not good for Sunday so we need to have a great round tomorrow.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION — Georgia Tech is making its 14th appearance all-time in the event, and third in the last six years. The Yellow Jackets finished fourth in their last visit there in the spring of 2015. The 54-hole event runs from Friday through Sunday at the 7,172-yard, par 72 Southwood Golf Club.
Three of the 12 teams in the field are ranked among the nation’s top 50 in the Golfstat rankings, six in the top 100, with Tech ranking highest at No. 25, followed by host Florida State (30), Jacksonville (31), Penn State (54), James Madison (57) and Troy (88). George Mason, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, VCU, West Virginia, Western Carolina, Western Kentucky and Winthrop round out the field.
The Yellow Jackets finished fourth in the 17-team field in its last appearance in the event in February of 2015. Four members of Tech’s current team played in that event, with James Clark and Chris Petefish tying for ninth place (211, -5), Michael Hines tying for 48th (220, +4) and Jacob Joiner tying for 67th (225, +9).