Fayetteville, Ark. – Luke Schniederjans fired a 5-under-par 67 to lead Georgia Tech in round 2, and the 7th-ranked Yellow Jackets improved 14 strokes and four positions Saturday with a 5-over-par 293 to settle into a tie for 13th place after 36 holes at the NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship.
Beginning round 2 in the morning and at the first tee proved beneficial for the Yellow Jackets, whose 293 was the sixth-best score among the 15 teams in the morning wave of the field, and was good enough to get into the top 15, which has the morning tee times in Sunday’s third round. Tech’s 24-over-par total of 600 is 34 strokes behind No. 1 seed Oklahoma State. The top-ranked Cowboys opened a 12-stroke lead on the field Saturday with a 10-under-par round of 276.
Tech is tied for the 13th position with No. 14 Georgia, who fell four spots Saturday after posting a 12-over-par round of 300. SMU, with a round of 293 (+5), jumped four positions to grab 15th place. Those three teams will be paired together for Sunday’s third round, beginning at 9:40 p.m. Eastern time from the first tee.
The NCAA Championship field includes 30 teams, with Oklahoma State competing at the top seed. The field will be cut to 15 teams after Sunday’s round for the final round of stroke play Monday. After Monday’s round, the individual champion will be crowned, and the top eight teams will advance to the match play bracket, which will determine the team champion. Quarterfinal and semifinal matches take place Tuesday, May 28, followed by the championship match Wednesday, May 29.
Golf Channel will televise the final round of stroke play Monday and the entire match play championship.
Coach Heppler post-round audio
TECH LINEUP – Schniederjans’ 67 has been beaten by only one golfer through the first 36 holes of the championship, Oklahoma State’s Matthew Wolff, whose 66 Saturday tied the course record. The junior produced seven birdies Saturday, one more than the entire Tech team recorded in the opening round Friday. He played the first seven holes even, with two birdies and two bogeys, then went 5-under-par the rest of the way and sits in a tie for 23rd place individually at 146 (+2).
Tyler Strafaci, who led the Jackets Friday with a 75, improved five shots Saturday with a 2-under-par 70, getting out of the gate with three consecutive birdies. The junior from Davie, Fla., had three of the Jackets’ six birdies Friday, and had four more Saturday and is tied for 15th place at 145 (+1).
Freshman Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) shot a 77 Saturday, while Andy Ogletree (junior, Little Rock, Miss.) and Noah Norton (sophomore, Chico, Calif.) each carded a 79, one of which counted in Tech’s team total.
Tech tripled its Friday birdie total, recording 18 in round 2.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Top-ranked Oklahoma State opened a 12-stroke lead over No. 10 Stanford Saturday, getting a course-record-tying 66 from Matthew Wolff and a 69 from first-round leader Austin Eckroat. The Cowboys posted a 12-under-par score of 276 and finished 36 holes at 10-under-par 566, the only team in the field under par.
No. 10 Stanford (578, +2) and No. 17 Texas A&M (583, +7) each shot 1-under-par 287 Saturday and occupy second and third places, respectively. No. 11 Auburn is in fourth place at 586 (+10), followed by No. 5 Texas at 588 (+12). No. 6 Oklahoma, who moved up eight spots after a 1-under-par round, is alone in sixth place. Ohio State, No. 3 Wake Forest and No. 12 California are tied for seventh at 593 (+17). No. 13 Clemson rounds out the top 10 at 594 (+18).
No. 4 Vanderbilt (595, +19), No. 2 Arizona State (598, +22), Georgia Tech and Georgia (both at 600, +24), and SMU (601, +25) occupy positions 11 through 15.
Pepperdine made the biggest move upward Saturday, nine positions to 17th place after posting a 3-over-par 291, while Southern California took the biggest slide, 10 spots to a tie for 22nd after posting a second consecutive round of 304 (+16).
Tyler Strafaci began his round with three straight birdies and shot 70 (-2).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Oklahoma State’s Austin Eckroat duplicated his opening 69 and sits at 138 (-6), one stroke ahead of teammate Matthew Wolff, who tied the Blessings Golf Club scoring record Saturday with a 66, and California’s Collin Morikawa, who followed his opening 67 with a 72. Both players have a 36-hole total of 139 (-5).
Auburn’s Jacob Solomon (69 Saturday), Stanford’s Isaiah Salinda (70) and Utah’s Kyler Dunkle (71) are tied for fourth place at 140 (-4). Stanford’s Henry Shimp (142, -2) and Arizona State’s Chun An Yu (143, -1) are the only other players under par.
HEAD COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAYS – “It’s really important to get into the top 15 teams after 36 holes in order to get a morning tee time Sunday. We had two really good rounds today, a five (under par) and a two. We just didn’t get a third or a fourth score. It was one of the better scores this morning, and we just need to see how these other teams play this afternoon.”
LUKE SCHNIEDERJANS SAYS – “I made a couple of long putts on the front nine that got me going. Honestly, even though I beat [Friday round] by 12, it wasn’t that much different. Today was pretty much the same game plan. I had a couple of momentum things go my way, I made a couple of key par saves, and wound up having a really solid day.”
TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals for the 29th time since 1985 (30th time in program history), which is tied for fifth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (34), Arizona State (32), Florida (31) and Texas (31). Tech has posted nine top-8 finishes in the last 14 tries.
The Yellow Jackets tied for 10th in 2009, the first-year of the stroke-play/match-play format, but qualified for match play each of the next four times they advanced to the NCAA Championship (third in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014). Tech did not advance out of its regional in 2012, 2016, 2017 or 2018.
Tech lost to the eventual champion three times in its four forays into match play – Augusta State by the score of 3-2 in the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011 and to Alabama (3-0-2) in 2013.
Tech has been the runner-up in the NCAA Championship four times (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005, all before the advent of match play), more than any team in the history of the championship except Houston, Michigan, Texas and Wake Forest, who also have four, and Oklahoma State, which has five.
Since Bruce Heppler became Tech’s coach, the Jackets have finished in the top eight 11 times.
Three Tech players have won national collegiate championships. Troy Matteson did it most recently in 2002 at Ohio State. Watts Gunn (1927) and Charlie Yates (1934) won national titles under a match play format before the NCAA took sponsorship of the championship in 1939.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship field includes 30 teams, with Oklahoma State competing as the top seed. The championship is being contested at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark., which plays to a par of 72 (36-36) and measures 7,550 yards (3,673-3,877).
Finals play consists of 72 holes of stroke play – May 24 thru Sunday, May 26 (54 holes), after which the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team will be determined. That is followed by a final day of 18 holes of stroke play on Monday, May 27 to determine the top eight teams that will advance to match play as well as the 72-hole individual champion. The team national champion will be determined by a match-play format that will consist of quarterfinals and semifinals conducted on Tuesday, May 28, followed by finals on Wednesday, May 29.
GOLF Channel will provide extensive coverage of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships. Live coverage begins on Monday, May 27 from 3-7 p.m. featuring the final round of stroke play and the awarding of the individual medalist honors. Coverage continues on Tuesday, May 28, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. with the quarterfinals of match play and returns for the match play semifinals from 3-7 p.m. Coverage culminates with the championship match on Wednesday, May 29 from 3-7 p.m. (All times are CT).
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (All times local – Central)
Sunday, May 26
- 6:50 a.m. – Third round of stroke play competition
Monday, May 27
- 11 a.m. – Tee times begin for final round of stroke play competition
- 3-7 p.m. – Live coverage on GOLF Channel
- 7:30 p.m. – Individual awards ceremony
- 7:45 p.m. – Quarterfinal Match Play pairings determined
Tuesday, May 28
- 7 a.m. – Match #1 and #2 begin (1st and 10th tees)
- 7:50 a.m. – Match #3 and #4 begin (1st and 10th tees)
- 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Live coverage (quarterfinals) on GOLF Channel
- 1:30 p.m. – Match #5 begins (winners of match #1 and #2)
- 2:20 p.m. – Match #6 begins (winners of match #3 and #4)
- 3-7 p.m. – Live coverage (semifinals) on GOLF Channel
- 7:30 p.m. – Semifinalist awards ceremony
- 7:45 p.m. – Championship Match Play pairings determined
Wednesday, May 29
- 2:25 p.m. – Championship Match begins (winner Match #5 vs. winner of Match #6)
- 3-7 p.m. – Live coverage (finals) on GOLF Channel
- Following Play – Awards ceremony