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Georgia Tech Golf Set for Watersound Invitational

THE FLATS – Continuing a busy month of February to begin its spring golf season, Georgia Tech’s 12th-ranked golf team travels to the Florida panhandle this weekend to defend its 2022 title in the Watersound Invitational in Panama City. The victory was one of four tournaments won by the Yellow Jackets in 2021-22.

After closing the fall season ranked No. 10 in the Golfstat rankings and No. 12 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, head coach Bruce Heppler has six Yellow Jackets competing in an 11-team field that includes seven teams in the Golfstat top 50, five of those in the top 25, including top-ranked Vanderbilt. Tee times begin at 9 a.m. Sunday and Monday at the Shark’s Tooth Golf Club, with the final round Tuesday starting at 7:30 a.m.

The event is part of a busy February in which the Jackets play three events, finishing at the Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas before the month is out. The first event, the Amer Ari Intercollegiate two weeks ago, was canceled due to high winds, and the Yellow Jackets wound up playing a single match against No. 20 Texas to salvage the week in Hawai’i. The Longhorns prevailed, 4-1-1.

TEAM UPDATE – The Watersound Invitational becomes Georgia Tech’s first stroke-play competition in the wake of the cancellation of the Amer Ari Intercollegiate. Head coach Bruce Heppler’s squad finished the fall season No. 10 in Golfstat and No. 12 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index despite not winning a fall event for the first time since 2016. The Yellow Jackets, however, posted a pair of runner-up finishes at the Inverness Intercollegiate and its home Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational, tied for fourth at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate and 12th at the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational.

Heppler will send out the same starting lineup that traveled to Hawai’i, including All-American Christo Lamprecht and fifth-year senior Connor Howe, who were the only Yellow Jackets to be a part of the starting five for each of the four fall tournaments.

Lamprecht, a 6-8 junior from South Africa who reached match play at the U.S. Amateur in August, earned his first collegiate victory at the Inverness Intercollegiate and tied for 10th at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate for his top performances of the fall. Howe, from Ogden, Utah, tied for third at the Maui Jim and 14th at Inverness for his two best performances, and added a tie for 20th at the Golf Club of Georgia.

Also competing are freshman Hiroshi Tai of Singapore, a two-time winner in the fall (Maui Jim individual event, golf Club of Georgia Collegiate), senior Ross Steelman (Columbia, Mo.), who tied for fifth at the Golf Club of Georgia and 21st at the Maui Jim in his only two events, and senior Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), whose best finish in three fall events was a tie for sixth at the Ben Hogan Collegiate and the only Jacket to win his match against Texas in Hawai’i. Sophomore Benjamin Reuter (Naarden, The Netherlands) is competing as an individual.

Steelman was the runner-up in the 2022 Watersound Invitational, while Forrester tied for fourth, Howe tied for 13th and Lamprecht tied for 23rd.

All of Tech’s starting five are ranked among Golfstat’s top 100 individuals and compiled stroke averages of 71.00 or lower in the fall. Steelman is Tech’s top-ranked player in Golfstat at No. 29, while Lamprecht is No. 49, Tai is No. 58, Forrester is No. 61 and Howe is No. 86.

Ross Steelman is Tech’s top-ranked player nationally, No. 29 by Golfstat, and was the individual runner-up in last year’s Watersound Invitational. (photo by Ross Obley)

 

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is in the Watersound Invitational for the third straight year, winning the 2022 tournament by five strokes over Alabama. The tournament follows the traditional collegiate 54-hole, 5-count-4, stroke-play format, with 18 holes each Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The event is contested at Shark’s Tooth Golf Club, a venue measuring 7,202 yards (par 72) that served as the venue for the ACC Championship last April.

This tournament was held in mid-January in 2021, the Jackets’ first tournament in a packed spring schedule that followed an idle fall brought on by COVID. Tech finished seventh in a limited 10-team field that included all ACC teams.

The 11-team field includes six Atlantic Coast Conference teams in No. 40 Clemson, No. 11 Florida State, No. 12 Georgia Tech, NC State, No. 36 Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, the nation’s top-ranked team in Vanderbilt, No. 16 Oklahoma State, No. 17 Alabama, No. 24 Mississippi State and Air Force.


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 70 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 29 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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