March 25, 2010
ATLANTA – Hoping to continue making progress toward the post-season, Georgia Tech’s 17th-ranked golf team will travel to the banks of Georgia’s Lake Oconee this weekend and play in the Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Ga.
The 54-hole event is played at the 7,051-yard, par 72 Landing Golf Course at Reynolds Plantation, and the 16-team field features top-ranked Oklahoma State, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 10 Florida State, No. 12 Augusta State, No. 19 Georgia and No. 24 Alabama. Others in the field include Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Furman, Kennesaw State, Louisville, Mercer, Oklahoma, San Jose State and south Alabama.
Head coach Bruce Heppler will send a team including junior John-Tyler Griffin, the nation’s No. 10-ranked player according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, sophomore James White, ranked No. 43, senior Chesson Hadley, and juniors Kyle Scott and Paul Haley. Freshman Bo Andrews and sophomore William Miller will compete as individuals.
Griffin has put together a very successful 2009-10 campaign to date, finishing in the top 10 in five of seven events and in the top 20 in one other. The lone exception occurred last time out when the Wilson, N.C., native tied for 37th at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in Las Vegas. He leads Tech and ranks third in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 71.47 stroke average.
White, from Acworth, Ga., also has had a solid season, posting five top-20 finishes, including one top-10 at the Mauna Lani Invitational, and owns the ACC’s seventh-best stroke average at 72.06.
Hadley, a two-time All-America, made his spring debut at the Southern Highlands event and tied for 29th place. The Raleigh, N.C., native is third in the Tech team in stroke average at 73.30, and has one top-20 finish in four tournaments. Scott struggled at Las Vegas, but the Johannesburg, South Africa native has had his moments this year, turning in three top-10 finishes and a 73.63 stroke average. Haley, from Dallas, Texas, has a 75.25 average and one top-20 in six tournaments.
“Everybody has had their moments, but we need to be more consistent,” said Heppler. “Everyone has played some winning golf, but we need it to be more than one or two guys in the same tournament. The last time we did that was at the UNCG tournament at the end of the fall (which Tech won).
“We need Kyle Scott to get back on track. Chesson has a reasonably good tournament in Las Vegas. But we need to be more consistent throughout the lineup.”
Georgia captured the championship of the 2009 event with a team score of 867, while Trent Whitekiller of Oklahoma State was the individual medalist with a total score of 208. The Landing Golf Course, located 75 miles east of Atlanta via interstate 20, was designed by Bob Cupp and opened in 1986. The opening for Tech to play in this event was created when the United States Collegiate Championship that Tech has hosted each of the last four years, was moved to the fall of 2010, and the event in Hawai’i that opens Tech’s spring schedule was made exempt against the NCAA allowable limit of dates for competition.
“We haven’t been able to play somewhere during our spring break for a while, and this tournament is in our backyard with a very good field,” said Heppler. “We’ve played a few courses down at Lake Oconee, but not this one. We also have an opportunity to play extra guys. The field is a bonus with Florida State the highest-ranked ACC team and Oklahoma State the No. 1 team in the country. It’ll be good to see Florida State before we get them at the ACC Championship.”
Play begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Live scoring and tee times for the event can be followed at www.golfstat.com.