Feb. 3, 2016
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s golf team, looking to rebound from a poor finish to the fall season, open their spring season for the 18th time at the Amer Ari Invitational, which begins Thursday at the Waikoloa Resort Kings Course.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its 18th appearance in the Amer Ari Invitational, which has been the traditional spring opener for the Yellow Jackets every year since 1999, except for last season. The 54-hole event, which runs through Saturday, is played at the 7,074-yard, par 72 Kings Course at the Waikoloa Resort on the Kona Coast of Hawai’i.
The field boasts seven of the nation’s top 50 teams, including top-ranked Auburn, No. 5 Stanford, No. 7 Southern California, No. 10 Arizona State, No. 23 UCLA, No. 30 Oregon and No. 36 Texas Tech. Cal State-Monterey Bay, Colorado, Hawai’i, Hawai’i-Hilo (the host institution), Oregon State, Osaka Gakuin University (Japan), Pacific, San Jose State, TCU and UC Davis round out the field.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech is ranked No. 29 in the latest Golfstat rankings and No. 26 in the Golfweek Sagarin Index after a fall season which saw the Yellow Jackets post a high finish of fifth place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate and the United States Collegiate Championship, both events contested in Georgia. Tech also tied for seventh at the DICK’S Sporting Goods Challenge Cup and closed with a 10th-place finish at the rain-shortened Kiawah Classic.
TECH LINEUP – The top five finishers in Georgia Tech’s recent 54-hole qualifier will be the Yellow Jackets’ starting five in Hawai’i – juniors Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) and Michael Hines (Acworth, Ga.) and sophomores James Clark (Columbus, Ga.), Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) and Michael Pisciotta (Alpharetta, Ga.). They finished the fall ranked 2-through-6 on the team in scoring average.
Whaley, Clark and Petefish played in all five fall events, with Whaley the only player in the group to record a top-10 finish. Whaley averaged 73.45 strokes over 12 rounds, while Clark finished at 73.64 and Petefish 74.18. Hines (75.89) played in three events and Pisciotta (76.00) two.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “It’s a good field again with top 12, top 15 teams in this tournament. It’s the one we’ve always played in the spring. With the lack of really seeing them play since we got back, I’m just interested to see where the energy level is, and where the focus is and see if we can’t return. We had one bad day to finish the fall, and I certainly don’t want to over-react. We were ranked ninth in the country. I want to see guys go out and compete.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 21st year under head coach Bruce Heppler. The Yellow Jackets have won 16 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 28 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up four times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GT_Golf). For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.