Feb. 26, 2009
ATLANTA – Facing one of the toughest fields it will encounter this spring, Georgia Tech’s 13th-ranked golf team travels to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico this weekend for the 16th consecutive year to participate in the Puerto Rico Classic.
The Yellow Jackets have won this event four times, most recently in 2005, and finished second four times, but have not fared better than seventh in the last three years. The 54-hole event begins Friday and runs through Sunday on the 6,902-yard, par 72 River Course at the Westin Rio Mar Resort.
The field includes seven of the nation’s top 15 teams, including No. 2 Georgia, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Florida, No. 8 Clemson and No. 15 Texas, joined by No. 24 East Tennessee State, No. 36 Michigan, No. 46 NC State, Kent State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue and Virginia Tech.
Tech is coming off a ninth-place finish in its first spring event, the UH-Hilo Intercollegiate, but placed two of its competitors in the top 12 – seniors Cameron Tringale (tie for 10th) and David Dragoo (tie for 12th). Both golfers continue to turn in excellent performances in their final season for the Yellow Jackets.
Tringale, a native of Laguna Niguel, Calif., who shot a 2-under-par 214 in Hawai’i, is having his best year as a Yellow Jacket, leading the team in stroke average at 71.50 while recording four top-10 finishes in five events. Ranked No. 5 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, Tringale’s lowest finish this year has been a tie for 13th at the PING/Golfweek Preview. Dragoo, from Scottsdale, Ariz., has averaged 73.60 over 15 rounds and has three top-20 finishes in five tournaments. He checks in at No. 71 in the Sagarin ratings, the highest standing of his career.
They’ll be joined by John-Tyler Griffin, a sophomore from Wilson, N.C., making his 11th consecutive start, and true freshmen Minghao Wang and James White. Griffin, with a tie for third at the Brickyard Collegiate to his credit, has averaged 74.47 strokes per round and tied for 39th at the Hilo event. White, from Acworth, Ga., tied for 60th at Hilo and has average 76.oo strokes over nine rounds, while Wang, from Reunion, Fla., tied for 69th as an individual at Hilo and has a stroke average of 75.33.
“This will be the first time that our two freshmen have played as part of our travel team, so I’ll be interested to see how they do,” said head coach Bruce Heppler. “J.T. (Griffin) has won both our qualifying tournaments, and Cameron has played very well, so I’m anxious to see how we fare this weekend. There are a bunch of good teams there, so this is a good barometer for us.”
No live scoring will be available online for this event, but results will be posted following each round at www.ramblinwreck.com.