April 6, 2012
Tampa, Fla. – Georgia Tech’s golf team faces six other teams in the nation’s top 25 as well as three of the top teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference this weekend as the 11th-ranked Yellow Jackets tee it up in Tampa, Fla., in the Gary Koch Invitational.
The 54-hole event will be played over two days on the 7,389-yard, par 72 Old Memorial Golf Club, 36 holes Saturday and 18 Sunday. The 15-team field includes 6th-ranked Auburn, No. 8 Alabama, No. 17 North Florida, No. 18 Virginia, No. 23 Florida State and No. 24 Florida, as well as Wake Forest. Tech finished first in this event in its last appearance in the fall of 2003.
This is the last tournament the Yellow Jackets will play in preparation to defend its ACC championship on Apr. 20-22. Head coach Bruce Heppler has a solid group of six players competing for five spots in the conference championship and NCAA events that follow. All six players rank among the top 22 in the ACC in stroke average. They each have at least one top-10 finish this year and have combined for 15.
This weekend, the travel squad includes All-American James White, sophomores Richard Werenski, who won the team’s qualifying tournament, and Bo Andrews, and freshmen Ollie Schniederjans and Anders Albertson.
“It’s important that you play something similar in terms of the golf course (in preparation for the ACC Championship),” said head coach Bruce Heppler. “This place is very well-conditioned. The greens are fast, though they’re bermuda, not bentgrass. Last year we played our own event at the Golf Club of Georgia. But this came up on our schedule, and we won it the last time we were here. We felt from all standpoints that this would be a good test for us to prepare for the conference tournament.”
White, a senior from Acworth, Ga., is among the finalists for two national player of the year awards, the Ben Hogan Award and the Byron Nelson Award. The 2011 first-team All-American has finished in the top-5 of four events this year and ranked third in the ACC with a 70.8 stroke average. He is ranked 17th in the nation in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.
Also high in the Golfweek rankings are Albertson (Woodstock, Ga.), who has three top-10 finishes and a 71.2 stroke average and is ranked 34th. Andrews (Raleigh, N.C.), has four top-10 finishes, a 72.0 stroke average and ranks 90th in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings.
Werenski (South Hadley, Mass.) and Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) each have finished in the top 10 of at least one event and have stroke averages under 73.