Andy Ogletree (right) birdied four holes on the back nine and shot 69 for the Yellow Jackets.
Raleigh, N.C. – Noah Norton, Andy Ogletree and Tyler Strafaci each shot 2-under-par 69 Tuesday, while 4th-ranked Georgia Tech posted a 5-under-par team total of 279 and is tied for third place after 36 holes of the NCAA Raleigh Regional at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course.
The top-seeded Yellow Jackets are nine shots off the pace set by the No. 3 seed, Texas, but more importantly are six shots ahead of sixth place entering the Wednesday’s final round. Tech lost ground to the two resurgent local teams, fifth-seeded Duke and sixth-seeded NC State, who shot 13-under-par 271 and 7-under-par 277, respectively, to grab second place and a share of third. Only 11 strokes separate the second- and ninth-place teams entering the final round.
Tech also lost a tiebreaker with Duke (based on the total of the teams’ drop scores each round) to keep its position among the final groups, which tee off from the first hole Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. Tech will tee off the 10th hole between 7:30 and 8:14 a.m., paired with Liberty and Arizona State.
The top five finishers at the conclusion of the tournament will advance to the NCAA Championship finals, May 25-30, in Stillwater, Okla. Potential inclement weather is expected to be a factor in completing Wednesday’s round, with a chance of showers forecast in the morning and a likelihood of thunderstorms in the afternoon. If all teams are unable to complete the third round, the standings would revert back to 36 holes to determine the five advancing teams.
The Yellow Jackets are playing in an NCAA regional for the 21st straight year and for the 28th time in the 30 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship. They are part of a regional field that includes 14 teams and five individuals.
TECH LINEUP — Unlike Monday’s opening round, birdies were much harder to come by Tuesday for the Yellow Jackets, who started by posting three birdies on the opening hole, but only finished at 5-under-par.
After bogeys at 3 and 4, Tyler Strafaci (sophomore Davie, Fla.) got both shots back with birdies at 7 and 8, and added an eagle at 15 and a birdie at 16. Norton (freshman, Chico, Calif.) played his final five holes 2-under-par, and Ogletree (sophomore, Little Rock, Miss.) posted four birdies on the back nine.
Strafaci is tied for ninth place individually at 5-under-par 137, while Norton and Ogletree are in a large group of players tied for 14th place at 3-under 139.
Sophomore Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.), had just one birdie and two bogeys on his card and shot 72 (+1), while senior Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) struggled to a 74 and did not count for the Yellow Jackets.
— Georgia Tech Golf (@GTGolf) May 15, 2018
TEAM LEADERBOARD — Texas, behind a 65 from Scottie Scheffler and a 66 from individual leader Doug Ghim, continued to play extremely well Tuesday, posting an 11-under-par 273 to expand its lead to 11 strokes over the host team and sixth seed, NC State, which posted a 7-under-par 277 behind a 7-under-par 64 from Benjamin Shipp. The 16th-ranked Longhorns completed 36 holes at 544 (24 under par), while the Wolfpack have a tournament total of 552 (-16).
The Blue Devils and Yellow Jackets sit at 553 (-15), four strokes ahead of fifth-place Liberty, which posted a 7-under 277 round and finished 36 holes at 557 (-11). No. 21 Arizona State, the fourth-seeded team in this regional, shot 283 (-1) Tuesday and is in sixth place at 559 (-9), with Middle Tennessee State (561, -7) in seventh place, Augusta (562, -6) in eighth and Missouri (576, -5) in ninth.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD — Texas senior Doug Ghim’s 66 was able to keep him in the lead, but only by one stroke as NC State’s Benjamin Shipp made a big move with a 64 Tuesday. The Longhorn All-American has a tournament total of 130 (-12), while Shipp finished 36 holes at 131 (-11). Augusta’s Broc Everett, after carding a 66 Tuesday, is alone in third place at 133 (-9).
The Longhorns’ Scottie Scheffler fired a 6-under-par 65 Tuesday to move into a tie for fourth place at 134 (-8) with the Wolfpack’s Stephen Franken, the ACC Player of the Year, who shot 69. Duke’s Jake Shuman, with a 64 Tuesday, is tied for sixth place at 135 (-7) with Chun An Yu of Arizona State, who shot a second-round 70.
"COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS -- "We got off to a pretty good start today, but then we got to the seventh hole, which was reachable with a driver and a hybrid, and we weren't able to make any birdies there, then we got into some of the harder holes, so we never really got the wind at our backs today. You look at Texas and NC State and some others, and they have guys who have shot 64 and 65, and we haven't had that yet. We've been putting it together with 2-under, 3-under rounds, but obviously those numbers are out there."
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION — A total of 81 teams and 45 individuals are competing this week at the six sites for spots in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship, which will be conducted May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
The other five regional tournaments are being conducted in Bryan, Texas (Traditions Club; Texas A&M, top seed); Columbus, Ohio (Scarlet Course/OSU Golf Course; Oklahoma State, top seed); Kissimmee, Fla. (Reunion Resort; Vanderbilt, top seed); Norman, Okla. (Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club; Oklahoma, top seed) and Stockton, Calif. (The Reserve at Spanos Park; LSU, top seed).
The Raleigh Regional includes eight teams listed among the nation’s top 50 of the Golfstat rankings, including (in order of seed) California (9), Texas (16), Arizona State (21), Duke (28), NC State (36), Liberty (40) and Missouri (45).
TECH’S NCAA REGIONAL HISTORY — Georgia Tech has advanced through an NCAA regional 23 times in 27 tries, and all but three times since the NCAA went to a six-regional qualifying format in 2009. Head coach Bruce Heppler’s teams have won five regional tournaments outright, most recently in 2014, and tied for one other. Tech is playing in Raleigh for the second time, having been the No. 1 seed in 2014 with a team led by four current Tour pros in Anders Albertson, Ollie Schniederjans, Seth Reeves and Richy Werenski. The Yellow Jackets won that regional by 17 strokes over Washington, one of seven tournament victories for Tech that year, and reached match play at the NCAA Championship in Hutchinson, Kan., for the fourth time in five years.