Feb. 20, 2017
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico – James Clark and Andy Ogletree each fired 2-under-par 70 on Monday, and 28th-ranked Georgia Tech posted a 4-under-par 284 to move into a tie for fifth place after 36 holes at the 25th annual Puerto Rico Classic.
TECH LINEUP – Clark, a junior from Columbus, Ga., and Tyler Strafaci, a freshman from Davie, Fla., each rebounded from poor opening rounds to help the Yellow Jackets improve their opening round score by 10 strokes and rise four positions in the team standings.
Clark and Ogletree, a freshman from Little Rock, Miss., led the way, combining for 11 birdies in their rounds. Clark had opened with an 81 Sunday and did not count. Strafaci, whose 80 counted for the Yellow Jackets Sunday, rebounded to a 1-under-par 71. Another freshman, Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.), shot 73 to provide Tech’s fourth counting score.
Junior Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.), who finished ninth in this event a year ago, shot a 79 after opening with a 73 in the first round.
Schniederjans is tied for sixth place individually with a 36-hole total of 141 (-3), while Ogletree put himself in position for a top-20 finish, sitting in a tie for 14th at 143 (-1).
TEAM LEADERBOARD – No. 22 Clemson had three players break 70 Monday on the way to a 12-under-par round of 276, taking over the tournament lead from ninth-ranked Georgia with a 36-hole total of 560 (-16). The Bulldogs posted a 2-under-par 286 Monday and sits seven shots back of the Tigers at 567 (-9).
Kentucky, with a 3-under-par 285 Monday, moved into third place at 571 (-5), while NC State slipped to fourth at 575 (-1). They are the only other two teams under par through 36 holes.
Tech and Middle Tennessee State are tied for fifth at 578 (+2), while Purdue (580, +4), Ohio State (581, +5), Northwestern (582, +6) and No. 17 North Carolina (586, +10) round out the top 10 in the 15-team field.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer fired a 5-under-par 67 to go with his opening 69 and took the 36-hole lead at 8-under-par 136. He is three strokes ahead of Georgia’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola (139, -5). The Bulldogs’ Tye Waller, Alabama’s Steven Setterstrom and Kentucky’s Tyler McDaniel are tied for third place at 140 (-4).
Schniederjans is in a group of six players tied for sixth place at 141 (-3), while seven other individuals sit under par through two rounds.
HEAD COACH Bruce Heppler SAID – “Obviously, this was a much better day than Sunday. I’m very pleased that Tyler and James were able to come back from disappointing first rounds. Andy and Luke have played very solid golf through the first two rounds.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its 25th appearance in the Puerto Rico Classic, typically the second event on the Yellow Jackets’ spring schedule after its opening trip to Hawai’i, having participated in every renewal of this tournament. The 54-hole event concludes Tuesday with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. It is played at the 7,074-yard, par 72 River Course at the Rio Mar Beach and Spa Resort.
Eleven of the 15 teams in the field are ranked among the nation’s top 50 in the Golfstat rankings – Georgia (9), Mississippi (15), North Carolina (17), Clemson (22), Georgia Tech (28), Northwestern (36), Purdue (40), Kentucky (42), Middle Tennessee State (47), Alabama (48) and NC State (50). Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Maryland and UNC Greensboro round out the field.
The Yellow Jackets finished sixth in last year’s Puerto Rico Classic, with junior Chris Petefish pacing Tech with a ninth-place finish individually. Tech has won the event five times and finished second six times. Six Jackets have earned medalist honors, including Mikko Rantanen (1994), Stewart Cink (1995), Matt Kuchar (1998), Troy Matteson (2002), Roberto Castro (2007) and James White (most recently in 2011).