March 25, 2005
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s golf team, making the most of its spring break, plays in its third event in a 10-day period when it begins competition Sunday in the Hootie at Bulls Bay Invitational in Awendaw, S.C.
The inaugural event, which benefits the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation, is being played at the Bulls Bay Golf Club, a 6,847-yard, par 72 layout near Charleston, S.C., with 18 hole rounds on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The teams will be treated to a concert by the rock band Hootie and the Blowfish on Saturday night.
The 15-team field includes nine of the nation’s top-25 teams in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, including No. 3 Georgia, No. 7 Wake Forest, No. 8 Auburn, No. 16 Augusta State, No. 18 South Carolina, No. 22 Alabama, No. 23 Kentucky and No. 25 Clemson.
“I hope we haven’t overdone ourselves with scheduling (tournaments so close together),” said Tech coach Bruce Heppler, whose team is coming off a fourth-place finish at the Oregon Duck Invitational, a two-day event that concluded Tuesday, which followed a pair of 18-hole matches with Brigham Young and Oregon State last Saturday at Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Ore.
Tech held a two-shot lead after 36 holes at Oregon before fading on Tuesday, and the Bulls Bay tournament is the Yellow Jackets’ fifth event this month. After Bulls Bay, there are only three tournaments left, the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship on Apr. 15-17, the NCAA regionals on May 19-21 and the NCAA Championship (if the Yellow Jackets qualify) on June 1-4. Both NCAA events occur after spring semester finals.
Tech is getting superb play from Roberto Castro, a sophomore from Alpharetta, Ga., who tied for third with a six-under-par score of 210, just two shots off the lead, at Oregon. He also was Tech’s top player at the Southern Highlands Collegiate (two-over 218, tied for 15th) a week earlier. Castro leads the Yellow Jackets in stroke average (70.67 overall, 70.33 in spring events) and has five top-10 finishes in eight events this year.
Close on his heels is Nicholas Thompson, a senior from Coral Springs, Fla., who has a 71.00 stroke average. Thompson, who tied for 12th at the Oregon Duck Invitational (one-over 217), has three finishes of 12th or better in four spring events and seven top-20 showings overall this year.
The rest of the Tech lineup includes Chan Song, a senior from Orlando, Fla., averaging 71.74 with six top-20 finishes in nine events; Mike Barbosa, a junior from St. Petersburg, Fla., averaging 72.54 with three top-20 showings; and Kevin Larsen, a sophomore from Santa Barbara, Calif., with a 73.67 stroke average.
Castro, ranked No. 5 in the nation in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, and Thompson, ranked No. 6, have the best two stroke averages among Atlantic Coast Conference golfers, while Song, ranked No. 19, has the fifth-best average.