May 19, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s golf team, ranked 8th in the nation, has been made the No. 10 seed in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship, which gets underway next Tuesday, May 26, at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
Tech, which has made the 30-team field for the 11th time in 12 years and for the 22nd time since 1985, has appeared more times in the NCAA Finals in the last 25 years than any school except Oklahoma State, Florida and Arizona State, each of whom won regionals last week.
The Yellow Jackets been paired with 11th-seed Texas A&M and 12th-seed Illinois for the first two rounds of the championship. They will tee off at 1:17 p.m. from the first tee Tuesday, and at 8:07 a.m. from the 10th tee Wednesday. Tee times for Thursday’s third round are determined by 36-hole standing.
Head coach Bruce Heppler’s team, led by All-America senior Cameron Tringale, is preparing for the championship first by participating in a local U.S. Open qualifier (Tuesday), then practicing at their on-campus range Thursday and playing at one of their home courses Friday and Saturday before traveling to Toledo Sunday.
Oklahoma State, the nation’s top-ranked team in this week’s Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and the champion of the South Central Regional, is the top seed, followed by Alabama (Northeast Regional champion), Florida (Southwest), Arizona State (West), UCLA (Central) and Georgia (second in the Southeast Regional). Washington, Arkansas and Tennessee are the 7-8-9 seeds.
Tech advanced to the Finals by tying for third place in last weekend’s Central Regional in Bowling Green, Ky., The Yellow Jackets have had an excellent spring, capturing the Atlantic Coast Conference championship (and thus an automatic bid to the NCAA championship) and finishing third in their own United States Collegiate Championship at the Golf Club of Georgia, an event which featured 11 of the nation’s top 15 teams. Tech’s schedule this year is rated the fifth-toughest in all of college golf.
The Inverness Club, a par-71, 7,255-yard course, was founded in 1903 and has hosted four U.S. Open championships, one U.S. Amateur, one U.S. Senior Open and two PGA Championships.
The club hosted the Golfweek/Preview Invitational last fall, an annual event which brings together many of the nation’s best teams to get a look at the host course for that year’s NCAA Championship. The Yellow Jackets tied for seventh place among 18 teams there in September. Oklahoma State won the tournament, with Tennessee, Georgia, Southern California, Alabama, Arizona State and Clemson finishing ahead of Tech. Only Clemson is not in the field next week.
The 2009 NCAA Championship features a new twist with the team champion determined via match play, the first time the winner hasn’t been awarded by total strokes since 1965. The top eight teams after 54 holes of stroke play will advance to match play with the quarterfinals and semifinals being held on Friday, May 29, and the championship match set for Saturday, May 30. During the match-play portion of the championships, each match will be worth one point with all five players participating. The first team to win three points within the team match will advance or, in the case of the championship match, be declared the national champion.
It is a format that Heppler, the ACC Coach of the Year in 2009, has supported vigorously. Since he became the head coach, Georgia Tech has finished in the top eight of the NCAA Finals (in 72 holes) seven times in 10 tries.
Tech has had success in match-play events in recent years, reaching the finals of the fall Collegiate Match Play Championship four times in five appearances. The Jackets reached the semifinals the other time.
2009 NCAA DIVISION I MEN’S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
Site: Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio (par-71, 7,255 yards)
Dates: May 26-30 (Tuesday-Saturday), practice round on Monday, May 25
Host school: University of Toledo
Admission: Day pass — $15, All-tournament pass — $35 (call 419-530-4653)
Teams competing (in order of seed): 1. Oklahoma State, 2. Alabama, 3. Florida, 4. Arizona State, 5. UCLA, 6. Georgia, 7. Washington, 8. Arkansas, 9. Tennessee, 10. Georgia Tech, 11. Texas A&M, 12. Illinois, 13. Stanford, 14. South Carolina, 15. Southern California, 16. Central Florida, 17. Texas Tech, 18. Oregon, 19. Texas, 20. Chattanooga, 21. Arizona, 22. Virginia, 23. Ohio State, 24. Northwestern, 25. San Diego, 26. TCU, 27. Wake Forest, 28. Duke, 29. Michigan, 30. Iowa.
Individuals competing (in order of seed): 1. Kyle Stanley (Clemson), 2. Matt Hill (NC State), 3. Hugues Joannes (Lamar), 4. Corey Nagy (Charlotte), 5. Brady Johnson (Brigham Young), 6. Cody Paladino (Baylor)
Competing for Georgia Tech: Cameron Tringale (Sr., Laguna Niguel, Calif.), John-Tyler Griffin (So., Wilson, N.C.), David Dragoo (Sr., Scottsdale, Ariz.), Chesson Hadley (Jr., Raleigh, N.C.), James White (Fr., Acworth, Ga.)
Format: 54 holes of stroke play to determine the individual medalist. The top eight teams in the standings after 54 holes will be seeded in a match-play bracket to determine the team champion. All five players from each team will participate (5 vs. 5, 4 vs. 4 and so on) with each individual match counting one point for the team. First team to accumulate three points wins the match and advances, or in the case of the championship match, is declared the national champion.
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (all times local)
Monday, May 25: 9 a.m. – Practice Round (shotgun start)
Tuesday, May 26: 7 a.m. – 1st Round (156 players- 30 teams); Georgia Tech tees off at 1:17 p.m. from the first tee.
Wednesday, May 27: 7 a.m. – 2nd Round (156 players- 30 teams); Georgia Tech tees off at 8:07 a.m. from the 10th tee.
Thursday, May 28: 7 a.m. – 3rd Round (156 players- 30 teams, tee times based on 36-hole finish). Individual champion crowned following Thursday’s play.
Friday, May 29: Match play begins for top eight teams; 7 a.m. – Quarterfinal matches off 1st tee, 2 p.m. – Semifinal matches off 1st tee
Saturday, May 30: 10 a.m. – Championship match off 1st tee