March 18, 2018
Palm City, Fla. – Sophomore Luke Schniederjans fired a 3-under-par 68 Sunday to pace third-ranked Georgia Tech, which posted a 3-over-par 287 for the opening round and is tied for seventh place at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational in Palm City, Fla.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Tech’s 287 is 10 shots off the pace set by top-ranked Oklahoma State, who counted three subpar rounds and an even-par score to post a 7-under-par 277 and take a four-shot lead over No. 2 Texas A&M, whom the Jackets beat to win the General Hackler Championship last week. The Aggies shot 3-under-par 281, while No. 22 Wake Forest is the only other team in red figures at 1-under-par 283 at the Floridian National Golf Club.
No, 9 Baylor is fourth at even-par 284, with No. 23 Florida State and No. 37 Duke tied for fifth at 286 (+2). The Yellow Jackets are tied with No. 12 LSU for seventh at 287 in a bunched leaderboard. The 12-team field is the strongest Tech has faced this spring, with 10 teams ranked among the nation’s top 50 according to Golfstat.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Wake Forest’s Parker Gillam carded a 5-under-par 66 Sunday to take a one-stroke lead over Oklahoma State’s Viktor Hovland, the nation’s No. 5-ranked player, Texas A&M’s Dan Erickson and Baylor’s Matthew Perrine (all at 67). Schniederjans (68) is alone in fifth place, while John Pak of Florida State, Zach Bauchou of Oklahoma State and Duke teammates Alex Smalley and Jake Shuman are tied for sixth at 69. Five other players are tied for 10th place at 1-under-par 70.
TECH LINEUP – Schniederjans, a sophomore from Powder Springs, Ga., whose round began on the 11th hole in the shotgun start, closed with a pair of birdies at 9 and 10 to finish off his 68, one stroke shy of his low round of the year. He is tied for fifth place individually, two shots off the pace.
Senior Chris Petefish, sophomores Andy Ogletree and Tyler Strafaci and freshmen Noah Norton all shot 73 Sunday for the Yellow Jackets, who started on holes 10-13, played the back nine in 4-under-par but was not able to sustain it. Petefish is coming off a victory last week at the General Hackler, and Strafaci, who missed the Hackler to play in the PGA Tour Valspar Championship, is defending his individual title at the Valspar Collegiate this week.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “Luke had a tremendous round today. He played consistently well, and when he ran into some trouble, he was able to manage his way out of it. Everybody else competed well, but we need a couple more low scores if we want to challenge the lead. The conditions were perfect today. The golf course is challenging, and the competition is strong, but today was a good day to make some scores. We started slowly, rallied late on the back nine, but we made some mistakes on our last holes coming in.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its fifth appearance in the Valspar Collegiate Invitational, which began three years ago and has become one of the spring’s premier events at one of Florida’s top golf venues. The 54-hole event will utilize a shotgun start each day (Sunday through Tuesday) at 8 a.m. It is played at the 7,114-yard, par-71 Floridian National Golf Club, part of The Floridian Resort and Spa.
The 12-team field, the strongest the Yellow Jackets have faced this spring, includes 10 teams ranked among the nation’s top 50 according to Golfstat – Oklahoma State (1), Texas A&M (2), Tech (3), LSU (12), Texas (14), Arkansas (16), South Florida (20), Florida State (23), Pepperdine (28) and Duke (35), as well as Houston and Lamar.
The Yellow Jackets won the inaugural event in 2014 and finished second last spring. Sophomore Tyler Strafaci won the individual title last year, while Ollie Schniederjans won medalist honors at the 2014 tournament. A sponsor’s exemption into the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship goes to the individual winner.