March 20, 2018
Palm City, Fla. – Senior Chris Petefish and sophomore Tyler Strafaci each shot 2-under-par 70 Tuesday, and third-ranked Georgia Tech counted three scores of par of better in the final round to finish in fourth place at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational in Palm City, Fla.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Scores rose with higher winds Tuesday at The Floridian National Golf Club as only two of the 16 teams in the field broke par, as opposed to 10 in the second round Monday. Top-ranked Oklahoma State shot 5-over-par 289 but still won the title by five strokes over No. 23 Florida State. The Cowboys finished 54 holes at 12-under-par 840. The Seminoles fired the day’s best round, 3-under-par 281, and finished the tournament at 845 (-7).
No. 2 Texas A&M shot a closing 286 and finished third at 850 (-2), the only other team to complete 54 holes in red figures. The Yellow Jackets, whose closing 283 was the second-best round, rose four positions on the leaderboard and finished at even-par 852.
No. 9 Baylor shot 7-over-par Tuesday to fall from second place into a tie for fifth with No. 37 Duke at 854 (+2). No. 12 LSU (858, +6), No. 20 South Florida (861, +9), No. 14 Texas (862, +10), Houston and No. 16 Arkansas (both at 865, +13) rounded out the top 10.
The 16-team field is the strongest Tech has faced this spring, with 13 teams ranked among the nation’s top 50 according to Golfstat.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Oklahoma State’s Viktor Hovland, the nation’s No. 5-ranked player, fired his third consecutive sub-70 round with a 3-under-par 68 and won medalist honors with a 13-under-par total of 200. He was four strokes clear of Florida State’s John Pak, who shot a 66 Tuesday for the best round of the day and placed second at 9-under-par 204.
Dan Erickson of Texas A&M, Alex Smalley of Duke and Matthew Perrine of Baylor tied for third place at 206 (-7) with Texas’ Doug Ghim in solo sixth at 208 (-5). Baylor’s Garrett May and South Florida’s Jimmy Jones tied for seventh at 210 (-3), followed by a group of four players tied for ninth at 212 (-1). Twelve players finished 54 holes under par.
TECH LINEUP – Similar to its first two rounds, Tech finished strong with six birdies and an eagle between holes 6-7-8 on Tuesday (the Yellow Jackets started the round on holes 8-10 in the shotgun start) after holding their 36-hole position through the back nine.
Strafaci, the defending champion, finished his 70 with birdie-eagle-birdie on those holes and wound up in a tie for 23rd place individually. Petefish, conversely, started out with three birdies in his first eight holes before settling for his 70 and a tie for 31st.
Freshman Noah Norton shot an even-par 71, and sophomore Andy Ogletree carded a 72 for the Jackets’ other counting scores, and tied for 13th place individually at even-par 213. Sophomore Luke Schniederjans closed with a 73 and tied for 18th place at 214 (+1).
COACH Bruce Heppler SAID – “Our guys were very composed today, they grinded through the last 12 holes when the wind got up, and we wound up with the second low round today, so that was really encouraging. We didn’t have anybody really close to the lead, but all five guys played very well this week. It was a really challenging course and a quality field, and we were in control of ourselves all day. Really, really positive for us.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech made 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 was played at the 7,114-yard, par-71 Floridian National Golf Club, part of The Floridian Resort and Spa.
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.