Sept. 9, 2016
Rocky Face, Ga. – James Clark fired a 3-under-par 69 Friday, pacing Georgia Tech to an opening round of 286 (-2) and a ninth-place standing at the 28th Carpet Capital Collegiate at The Farm Golf Club in Rocky Face, Ga.
TECH LINEUP — Clark, a junior from Columbus, Ga., who finished second in the Yellow Jackets’ 10-match qualifying tournament last week, carried his strong finish into Friday’s round, scoring six birdies and playing bogey-free on the back nine. He is tied for 11th place individually after the opening round.
Senior Michael Hines, a senior from Acworth, Ga., had a 71 with four birdies and three bogeys, also carrying over a strong finish in the team qualifying. He is tied for 25th individually. Freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.), Tech’s top finisher in qualifying, shot even-par 72 and is tied for 33rd, while junior Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) provided the Yellow Jackets’ fourth counting score with a 74, tied for 47th.
Freshman Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.), competing as an individual, surged out of the gate with a 4-under-par front nine and also shot 69, tying for 11th individually.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS — “James and Luke played very well today. James is at the point where he needs to be solid every day, and Luke continues to improve. The course was sitting there for the taking as you can see by the scores. The first day of the year is in the books, and we just have to get better every day.”
TEAM LEADERBOARD — Virginia and Auburn, ranked 14th and 15th, respectively, in Golfweek magazine’s pre-season survey, each posted opening rounds of 276 (-12) and grabbed a five-stroke lead on No. 24 Alabama (281). The Tigers were boosted by a pair of 68s from Ryan Benton and Will Long and have four individuals in the top 15, while the Cavaliers had all five of their players under par. No. 8 LSU and No. 20 South Carolina, who both played in the NCAA match play bracket last spring, are tied for fourth place with No. 12 Clemson at 283 (-5). Tennessee and Florida are another shot back at 284 (-4), tied for seventh.
Ten teams broke par on Friday, including Kennesaw State, which posted a 1-under-par 287 and is one stroke behind the Yellow Jackets.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD — Florida sophomore Sam Horsfield, who won three tournaments as a freshman, paced the field with a 65 (-7), taking a two-shot lead over Virginia’s Jimmy Stanger (67). The Auburn duo of Benton and Long are part of a group of eight players at 68. Tech’s Clark and Schniederjans are in a five-way tie at 69. Thirty-two of the 78 players in the field broke par on Friday.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION — The Carpet Capital Collegiate is being played through Sunday at The Farm Golf Club, a 7,012-yard, par 72 layout designed by Tom Fazio near Dalton, Ga. The Yellow Jackets have been the institutional host of this event since its inception in 1989, winning seven times, most recently in 2013. Tech finished fifth last year behind Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina and LSU, all of whom return to compete this weekend. LSU and South Carolina both advanced to match play at the NCAA Championship last spring, and the 14-team field also includes NCAA Championship entrants Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Virginia.
TECH’S CARPET CAPITAL COLLEGIATE HISTORY — Georgia Tech has won the Carpet Capital Collegiate seven times in its 27-year history, most recently in 2013, the most of any participant. Clemson has won four times, Alabama three. A Yellow Jacket has won medalist honors eight times, including each of the past three years (Jacob Joiner last fall, Ollie Schniederjans in 2013 and 2014). Current PGA Tour pros Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, Troy Matteson and Bryce Molder also have claimed victory at The Farm, with Molder taking the title three consecutive times between 1998 and 1999, when the event moved from the spring to the fall schedule.