May 16, 2017
Stanford, Calif. – Freshman Luke Schniederjans fired a record-setting 8-under-par 62 Tuesday, lifting 21st-ranked Georgia Tech into a tie for fifth place following the second round of the NCAA Stanford Regional at the Stanford Golf Course.
The Yellow Jackets, whose 7-under-par 273 Tuesday was bettered only by 36-hole leader Baylor (-15), trailed fifth place by seven shots when the day began, and finished in a three-way tie for the final qualifying spot with Brigham Young and North Florida entering Wednesday’s final round. The top five finishers after Wednesday’s round advance to the NCAA Championship finals, which begins May 26 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
TECH LINEUP – Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.), starting on the 10th hole along with the rest of the Yellow Jackets, began his round with four consecutive birdies, accumulated two more on his opening nine holes and five more as he finished on the front nine. It eclipsed his previous best score of 66 this year, and beat by two shots the Tech record for a single individual round NCAA regional, Matt Kuchar’s opening 64 in 1998 at Daufuskie Island, S.C.
The score also was the low round ever shot by a competitor in an NCAA regional Stanford has hosted on its golf course, surpassing the 63s shot by San Diego State’s J.J. Spaun in 2012 and BYU’s Oscar Alvarez in 2005.
After opening with a 76 Monday, Schniederjans moved into the top 10 individually with a 36-hole total of 138 (-2), nine shots off the pace.
“Today, I stayed more patient, I had some more putts drop early and played well all day,” said Schniederjans. “I thought I played well enough yesterday, but I didn’t finish well. It was pretty much three swings that led to a 6-over. I knew I was playing well. I just took away from the first round to stay in my rhythm all 18 holes. I think I have a better idea on how to play these holes.”
But was there another reason the freshman turned his tournament around Tuesday? Like his older brother Ollie, Schniederjans doesn’t wear a hat normally, but decided to don one for Monday’s opening round. Tuesday morning, he “accidentally” left it at the team’s hotel Tuesday morning and played his round without it.
“I don’t think it really mattered, but I probably won’t wear one tomorrow,” he said.
Junior James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) chipped in with a 1-under-par 69, which included a stretch of four birdies in five holes to finish his front nine. Freshman Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) shot an even-par 70, and freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) added a 2-over-par 72 for the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday. Clark and Strafaci are tied for 16th place individually at even-par 140.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – No. 9 Baylor shot a 15-under-par 265 and surged past host Stanford to take a seven-stroke lead after 36 holes. The Bears have a 36-hole total of 542 (-18), while the fourth-ranked Cardinal have an 11-under-par 549 total after posting a 2-under 278 Tuesday.
Pepperdine (555, -5) shot 6-under 274 Tuesday and hold third place, followed by No. 15 Oklahoma (557, -3). Tech, BYU and North Florida are in fifth place at even-par 560, with North Carolina and Houston (566, +6) another six strokes back in eighth place.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERS – Oklahoma’s Brad Dalke, who shared the opening round lead with a 65, added a 6-under-par 64 Tuesday to open a three-stroke lead in the medalist race at 11-under-par 129. Maverick McNealy of Stanford, the nation’s third-ranked player, shot a 3-under-par 67 and finished 36 holes at 8-under-par 132.
Baylor’s Cooper Dossey is in third place at 134 (-6), followed by teammate Matthew Perrine at 135 (-5).
HEAD COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We fumbled in a couple of places, but we’re back in business at least. We did a lot of good things today. James is rolling along, doesn’t let things linger, which really helps his round and helps us. Luke made a lot of putts today. When you make 11 birdies, that’s a tremendous round. Everything went his way. It was great to see him come back from yesterday’s round and not let that linger. We just have to go out and play well again tomorrow. We haven’t had an easy go of it the last few years, and this is no different. We just need to get off to a good start and see what happens. We have to be patient. That’s why today was a great round. There are pins in the corners, so you have to play smart, disciplined golf and not let things get away. You’ve got to play the par 5 holes well.”
REGIONAL TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets, the No. 4 seed at Stanford, are playing in an NCAA regional for the 20th straight year and for the 27th time in the 29 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship. They are part of a regional field that includes 13 teams and 10 individuals.
The Stanford Regional includes eight teams listed among the nation’s top 50 of the Golfstat rankings, including (in order of seed) Stanford (4), Baylor (9), Oklahoma (15), Georgia Tech (21), Pepperdine (27), North Carolina (33), North Florida (41) and BYU (45). Houston (51), Ohio State (58), UC Santa Barbara (66), Sacramento State (107) and South Dakota State (196). BYU, UCSB, Sacramento State and South Dakota State qualified automatically by winning their conference tournaments.
The Stanford Golf Course plays to a par of 70 and is 6,727 yards in length. It is the third layout under 7,000 yards the Yellow Jackets will play this spring.
This is the third straight year that Tech has traveled to the West Coast for its NCAA regional. The Jackets played last May in Tucson, Ariz., where they finished tied for seventh and failed to advance, and in San Diego in 2015.
The other five regional tournaments will be conducted in Baton Rouge, La. (top seed, LSU); College Grove, Tenn. (top seed, Vanderbilt); West Lafayette, Ind. (top seed, Florida); Austin, Texas (top seed, Oklahoma State); and Sammamish, Wash. (top seed, Southern California).