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Georgia Tech Golf Set for NCAA Salem Regional

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech begins its quest for a 32nd all-time trip to the NCAA Championship finals Monday at the NCAA Salem (S.C.) Regional at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls. It is one of six regional qualifying tournaments being held around the country Monday through Wednesday to determine the 30-team field for the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship, which begins May 26 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The top five teams in each regional qualifier advance to the NCAA Championship. Tech is the No. 2 seed in Salem, behind the nation’s No. 2-ranked team, North Carolina. The remainder of the field, with ranking according to Golfstat, are Texas A&M (14), San Diego State (23), Georgia Southern (26), Arkansas (35), Purdue (38), New Mexico (47), Clemson (54), Furman (58), Middle Tennessee State (64), Northern Illinois (127), Long Island (186) and Longwood (201).

Tech, which won its 19th Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in April, San Diego State (Mountain West), Northern Illinois (Mid-American), Long Island (Northeast) and Longwood (Big South) are automatic qualifiers for winning their conference championships. Clemson is the host institution.

The Yellow Jackets are playing in an NCAA regional for the 25th straight year and for the 32nd time in the 34 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship (the NCAA Championship and regionals were not conducted in 2020 due to COVID-19).

Tech has played in three tournaments at the NCAA regional venue, competing in the Clemson Invitational at The Cliffs in 2016, 2017 and 2019. The Yellow Jackets posted a 52-under-par total of 812 over 54 holes to score an 11-stroke victory over Duke most recently in 2019. It was Tech’s third-lowest score in relation to par in program history, and the fourth-lowest 54-hole total.

In 2017, Tech finished second with a 9-over-par total of 873, and finished 12th at 8-over-par 872 in 2016, both on the same golf course.

Tech has advanced to the NCAA Championship finals in seven of the past 10 years, including each of the last three, finishing fourth in 2019 (Pullman, Wash.), third in 2021 (Tallahassee, Fla.) and first last year (Columbus, Ohio). Four of the five Tech starters from last year have returned for this season.

As the No. 2 seed, the Yellow Jackets are paired with North Carolina and Texas A&M for the first two rounds, beginning at 8 a.m. from the first tee. Teams and individuals will be re‐paired according to score after 36 holes.

TEAM UPDATE – Tech has been ranked as high as No. 8 this spring in the Golfstat rankings, currently sitting in the No. 11 spot, and holds a season-high No. 5 in the in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. The Yellow Jackets won the ACC Championship in April for its first tournament victory in 2022-23 after finishing as the runner-up four times in their prior five tournaments.

Tech’s strength of schedule is ranked No. 8 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, and the Jackets are 29-23-3 against the nation’s top 25 teams according to that measure, 25-24-3 according to Golfstat.

Statistically, Tech ranks seventh nationally in average individual score (71.04), No. 3 in final-round scoring average (70.31), No. 11 in par-3 scoring, and No. 12 on par-4 holes and No. 6 on par-5s.

Four of the five starters who teed it up for Tech in last year’s ACC Championship are back for this edition. Head coach Bruce Heppler will field the same starting lineup that has competed in the Jackets’ first five tournaments this spring, including All-ACC honorees Connor Howe, Christo Lamprecht and Ross Steelman.

Lamprecht, a 6-8 junior from South Africa who is a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award and is the top-ranked player in the International team for the 2023 Palmer Cup, won the Inverness Invitational in the fall and has finished in the top 10 in each of Tech’s five spring events, including runner-up finishes at the Watersound Invitational, Linger Longer Invitational and The Goodwin and a ninth-place finish at the ACC Championship.

Howe, a fifth-year senior from Ogden, Utah, has recorded top-10 finishes in Tech’s last three events (Linger Longer Invitational, The Goodwin, ACC Championship). Steelman, a senior from Columbia, Mo., has finished in the top 10 in six of the seven tournaments in which he has competed this year, including all five this spring. Steelman also delivered the deciding point in each of Tech’s ACC Championship matches against Duke and Wake Forest.

Freshman Hiroshi Tai of Singapore, a two-time winner in the fall (Maui Jim individual event, Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate), has a pair of top-10 finishes this spring, including a runner-up finish in medal play at the ACC Championship, where he lost a three-hole playoff to Michael Brennan of Wake Forest. Senior Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), who tied for 14th at Watersound and 11th at The Goodwin, rounds out the starting five.

Sophomore Benjamin Reuter (Naarden, The Netherlands), who has competed in five events this year and has a pair of top-10 finishes, is the Yellow Jackets’ alternate player.

Lamprecht (No. 7) and Steelman (No. 17) and are Tech’s top two players in the Golfstat rankings, while Lamprecht rates No. 6 and Steelman ninth in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. Howe is listed among the top 100 in both rankings (No. 50 in Golfstat, No. 55 Golfweek/Sagarin). Forrester is No. 99 in Golfstat, while Tai is No. 91 in the Sagarin Index.

Christo Lamprecht is Tech’s top-ranked player in both the Golfstat and Golfweek/Sagarin ratings. (photo by Andy Mead)

 

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Eighty-one teams and 45 individuals are competing for spots in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship finals in six regional qualifying tournaments. The top five teams and one individual from each regional will advance to the finals (30 teams and six individuals total), which will be conducted May 26-31 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Each NCAA regional is a 54-hole, stroke-play event with 13 teams and 10 individuals, or 14 teams and five individuals, competing. Tech is part of a regional field that includes 14 teams and five individuals. The top seeds in each regional are top-ranked Vanderbilt in Auburn, Ala., No. 2 North Carolina in Salem, No. 3 Illinois in East Lansing, Mich., No. 4 Arizona State in Las Vegas, Nev., No. 5 Texas Tech in Norman, Okla., and No. 6 Pepperdine in Morgan Hill, Calif.

The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, which serves as the venue for the Salem Regional, plays to a par of 72 and measures 7,126 yards, and was designed by Jack Nicklaus. Water comes into play in 12 of the 18 holes.

Competition begins at 8 a.m. Eastern time each day of the tournament from the No. 1 and 10 tees.

Ross Steelman has finished 12th or higher in all five stroke play events this spring. (photo by Andy Mead)

 


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

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 71 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 19 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.

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