Feb. 6, 2007
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s golf team, ranked 20th in the nation in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, begins its spring schedule Wednesday at the 17th annual University of Hawaii at Hilo Intercollegiate on the Big Island in Hawai’i.
The Yellow Jackets have won this event five of the nine years in which they have made the trip to the Waikoloa Village Golf Club, including last year’s 14-shot win over eventual national champion Oklahoma State. Sophomore Cameron Tringale won medalist honors by one shot over Hawaii’s Travis Toyama and two over OSU’s Pablo Martin.
All three players return to this year’s field, which includes the third-ranked Cowboys, No. 2 Stanford and No. 8 Southern California among the 18 teams.
Tech is trying to begin anew following a disappointing fall season in which its top finish was a tie for third in the opener at the Carpet Capital Collegiate. Tringale, senior Roberto Castro, sophomore Adam Cohan and freshmen Daniel Bowden and Chesson Hadley earned spots on the travel squad for this event through the team’s 108-hole qualifying tournament.
“We had a long time to think about the fall,” said head coach Bruce Heppler. “I think everyone has a much better mindset than they did in December. That we’ve had success there (in Hawaii) is good, especially among the older guys, and that’ll rub off on everybody.”
Tringale, from Laguna Niguel, Calif., who finished eighth at last year’s NCAA Championship, led the Jackets in scoring in the fall at 72.33, posted a pair of top-20 finishes in five events and is ranked No. 80 in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings. He shot rounds of 65-67-70 (11-under-par) in last year’s Hilo event and defeated Toyama on the 54th hole.
Castro, a senior from Alpharetta, Ga., tied for eighth at Waikoloa last year and posted the team’s only top-10 finish in the fall at the Isleworth-UCF Collegiate. He averaged 72.83 for his 12 rounds in the fall and is ranked No. 71 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index.
Cohan, a sophomore from Wayne, Pa., played three events in the fall and averaged 75.67 for his nine rounds, posting a high finish of 38th at the Ping/Golfweek Preview Invitational. Bowden, from Easley, S.C., tied for 42nd at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational in his only fall event, while Hadley, a second-team Junior All-American from Raleigh, N.C., will appear in his first event as a Yellow Jacket.
“We’ve had some conversations about what we want to achieve,” Heppler said, “and I think our freshmen are getting their feet on the ground, which is demonstrated by the fact that two of them have made this trip.”
“I feel better about our effort in the qualifying. I’m confident that we’ll do the best we can do out there, and I didn’t feel that way about our performance in the fall.”
The Waikoloa event is 54 holes over three days, beginning at 7:30 a.m. local time Wednesday and concluding on Friday.