Feb. 19, 2017
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico – Freshman Luke Schniederjans fired a 4-under-par 68 Sunday to open play at the 25th Puerto Rico Classic, but the 28th-ranked Yellow Jackets posted a 6-over-par 294 team score and sit tied for ninth place after the opening round.
TECH LINEUP — Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) posted his best round since carding a 67 in the second round of the Maui Jim Invitational in the fall, and was his fifth round in the 60s this year. The freshman had a clean card with four birdies and no bogeys, and sits in a tie for second place, one shot off the lead.
Junior Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.), who finished ninth in this event a year ago, and freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) each opened with a 73. The Yellow Jackets were forced to count an 80 from freshman Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) toward their team total, and junior James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) shot 81.
TEAM LEADERBOARD — Ninth-ranked Georgia used three subpar rounds, including a 68 from Tye Waller, who take the opening round lead with a 7-under-par score of 281. NC State is two strokes behind at 5-under-par 283, with No. 22 Clemson another shot back in third at 4-under 284. Kentucky also broke par with a 2-under-par 286 and sits in fourth.
Middle Tennessee State (291, +3) is in sixth place, followed by Mississippi and Maryland, tied for seventh at 292 (+4). Tech is tied for ninth with Northwestern at 294 (+6).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD — The Wolfpack’s Stephen Franken grabbed the first-round lead with a 5-under-par 67, with Schniederjans and Waller a shot back at 68. Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer and Kentucky teammates Tyler McDaniel and Cooper Musselman are tied for fourth after posting 69s.
Five players are tied for seventh at 2-under 70, while nine others cards 71s.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION — Georgia Tech is making its 25th appearance in the Puerto Rico Classic, typically the second event on the Yellow Jackets’ spring schedule after its opening trip to Hawai’i, having participated in every renewal of this tournament. The 54-hole event runs from Sunday through Tuesday with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. each day. It is played at the 7,074-yard, par 72 River Course at the Rio Mar Beach and Spa Resort.
Eleven of the 15 teams in the field are ranked among the nation’s top 50 in the Golfstat rankings — Georgia (9), Mississippi (15), North Carolina (17), Clemson (22), Georgia Tech (28), Northwestern (36), Purdue (40), Kentucky (42), Middle Tennessee State (47), Alabama (48) and NC State (50). Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Maryland and UNC Greensboro round out the field.
The Yellow Jackets finished sixth in last year’s Puerto Rico Classic, with junior Chris Petefish pacing Tech with a ninth-place finish individually. Tech has won the event five times and finished second six times. Six Jackets have earned medalist honors, including Mikko Rantanen (1994), Stewart Cink (1995), Matt Kuchar (1998), Troy Matteson (2002), Roberto Castro (2007) and James White (most recently in 2011).