March 9, 2018
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s eighth-ranked golf team returns to action for its third event of the spring this weekend, making its first-ever appearance in the General James Hackler Championship Saturday and Sunday at The Dunes Beach and Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The General Hackler Championship, in its 17th year, is one of two new events on Georgia Tech’s spring schedule (the Irish Creek Invitational April 7-8 in Kannapolis, N.C., is the other). The 54-hole event includes 36 holes on Saturday, beginning with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m., and the final 18 holes Sunday with groups teeing off both the first and 10th tees beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Eight of the 15 teams in the field are ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation by Golfstat, including No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 12 LSU. Coastal Carolina hosts the event, which also includes East Carolina, East Tennessee State, No. 32 Kent State, No. 38 Kentucky, Liberty, No. 31 NC State, No. 23 North Florida, Princeton, No. 26 South Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech is ranked No. 8 in the latest Golfstat rankings and in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index after opening the spring season with a fifth-place finish at the Amer Ari Invitational in Hawai’i and a fourth-place finish at the Puerto Rico Classic. The Yellow Jackets won the Carpet Capital Collegiate and the Franklin American Mortgage Collegiate in the fall, along with a runner-up finish at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate and a fourth-place showing against an ultra-strong field at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate.
The Yellow Jackets own a 64-11-4 overall win-loss record this year, including a 29-11-4 mark against top-50 teams.
TECH LINEUP – Senior Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) joins junior Tyler Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.), sophomores Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) and Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) and freshman Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.) on the Yellow Jackets’ travel roster. Schniederjans, ranked No. 77 by Golfstat, and Ogletree (No. 143) have been in the starting five for every tournament this year, averaging 71.83 and 72.28, respectively, and each have one top-10 finish.
Petefish, ranked No. 178, has played in all six events, four in the starting five and two as an individual, also has a top-10 finish and a 72.61 stroke average. Norton, Tech’s highest-ranked player at No. 63, has been in the starting five for every tournament and has three top-10 finishes and a 71.50 stroke average.
Joiner, who has played only in Tech’s own tournament, the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, in the fall, won the team qualifying tournament to make the travel roster this week. The junior shot a 68 and a 66 and tied for seventh at the Golf Club of Georgia.
Tech will be playing without 66th-ranked Tyler Strafaci, a sophomore from Davie, Fla., who is competing on a sponsor’s exemption at this week’s Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour. He earned the spot after winning the Valspar Collegiate Invitational last spring.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We had been going to Las Vegas to Tallahassee, but this tournament fit into our schedule a little bit better this year. It has a quality field, and I’ve heard good things about the golf course. They held the South Carolina State Amateur there a few years ago. I’ve heard it’s a tough course, and it’s near the ocean, so if the wind blows, it can be really hard. The weather will dictate score a little. .”
HEPPLER ON STRAFACI AT THE VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP – “He’s pretty excited. I think he’s played a lot there as a junior player. He went down there over the weekend and played a couple of days, came back for school and headed back down there (Wednesday) morning. He practiced this morning, and he’s getting to be around so many of the guys he’s watched on TV. I’ve told him not to measure yourself against the Tour players – the golf course is set up for them. Whether you make the cut or not doesn’t mean you’re any better or worse than you were before you go down there.”
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.