April 7, 2016
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s golf team plays its last regular-season event this weekend, traveling North to participate in the 30th annual Princeton Invitational, which is being contested at Springdale Golf Club in Princeton, N.J.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Princeton Invitational is a 54-hole event with the first 36 holes played Saturday and the final 18 Sunday. Play begins at 7:45 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. It is played at Springdale Golf Club, which plays to a par of 71 but measures just 6,415 yards.
Along with fellow Ivies Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Penn and Yale, Princeton will welcome a pair of teams ranked in the top 50 in the current Golfstat rankings, No. 20 Duke and No. 42 Georgia Tech, plus regional foes from Georgetown, Rider, Rutgers, Saint Joseph’s, Seton Hall and Temple.
Yale enters as defending champions and winners of five of the last six team titles, with Harvard’s win in 2014 as the only gap in the Bulldogs’ run. Temple’s Brandon Matthews can go for his third Princeton Invite title after tying with teammate Matt Teesdale in 2013 and winning outright a year ago.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech is ranked No. 42 in the latest Golfstat rankings and No. 34 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. The Yellow Jackets finished second out of 12 teams in last weekend’s Clemson Invitational. Tech has a 66-53 won-loss record cumulatively this year against a schedule rated the seventh-toughest in the country, and a 15-34-1 mark against top-25 teams.
Only two teams in the Sagarin top 50 – No. 1 Texas and No.12 Florida State – have faced more top-25 teams in competition this year than has Tech.
The Yellow Jackets’ top finishes before Clemson were fifth place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate and the United States Collegiate Championship in the fall and the Puerto Rico Classic this spring.
TECH LINEUP – Tech will have its top five players in terms of scoring average competing at the Princeton Invitational, led by junior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas), who won the Clemson Invitational last weekend and has two other top-5 finishes to his credit this year. He has posted the two lowest 54-hole scores of his career this spring, a 9-under-par 207 at the Amer Ari Invitational and an 8-under 208 last weekend. Whaley is ranked No. 59 in the Golfwek/Sagarin Index, and leads the Jackets with a 72.22 stroke average and a 70.5 won-loss percentage.
Also on the trip is sophomore Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.), who is ranked No. 182 in the Sagarin Index on the strength of his victory at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in the fall and three other top-20 finishes, including a tie for 11th at the Puerto Rico Classic. Joiner is second on the team in won-loss percentage and third in stroke average (74.05).
Sophomore Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) turned in his best performance of the year (t-9) at the Puerto Rico Classic where he shot 4-under-par 212, and has a stroke average of 74.22. Sophomore James Clark (Columbus, Ga.), with a 73.83 stroke average and a tie for seventh at Clemson last week, and junior Michael Hines (Acworth, Ga.), 74.83, complete the Tech travel team.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We played seven guys at Clemson, and Michael Hines played winning golf for the first two round. He’s been around a long time, and we thought he gives us the best chance to win at that position. These are the five guys who have the lowest scoring averages both at home and on the road. We’ve worked at this for seven months, and they’ve earned their chance. At some point you come out of the frying pan and into the fire, and hopefully we’re at that point.”
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