Feb. 21, 2015
Rio Grande, P.R. – Georgia Tech’s golf team, ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation, opens its 20th spring under head coach Bruce Heppler Sunday at the Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Grande, P.R. The 54-hole event runs through Tuesday at the Rio Mar Resort.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Puerto Rico Classic is a typical 54-hole collegiate event, with the low four scores out of five counting each day. The 16-year-old event is played on the Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa (6,902 yards, par 72) in Rio Grande, P.R. The 15-team field features nine teams in the current Golfweek/Sagarin top-50, including Georgia Tech (6), North Carolina (9), Alabama (11), Oklahoma (22), Virginia Tech (28), Clemson (30), East Tennessee State (32), Georgia (39), North Carolina State (47), UNC Greensboro (56), Michigan (63), Purdue (70), Minnesota (99), Tulsa (120) and Nebraska (207). Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Alabama,, Virginia Tech and Purdue all reached last year’s NCAA Championship.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY – Georgia Tech has played in the Puerto Rico Classic every year the event has been held and won the event four times (2000, 2001, 2002, 2005). Three Yellow Jackets have won medalist honors (Troy Matteson, 2002, Roberto Castro, 2007, James White, 2011). Tech has also been the runner-up three times, most recently last year by four shots to Alabama. The Jackets shot a team total of 819 (41-under-par).
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech is ranked sixth in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin ratings, seventh in Golfstat and fourth in the GCAA coaches poll. The Yellow Jackets won twice (DICK’S Sporting Goods Challenge Cup, Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational) and finished as the runner-up once (Carpet Capital Collegiate) in five fall events.
TECH LINEUP – All-America seniors Ollie Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Anders Albertson (Woodstock, Ga.) will anchor an otherwise young lineup that includes sophomore Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) and freshmen Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) and Michael Pisciotta (Alpharetta, Ga.). Another freshman, Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) will compete as an individual. Schniederjans won the Carpet Capital Collegiate in the fall and finished in the top five in three other events, the top 10 in all five. He has a 68.20 stroke average in 15 rounds. Albertson had one top-10 finish in the fall and a 72.00 stroke average in 15 rounds. Whaley (73.00 average and Joiner (72.22 avg.) each played in three events, while Pisciotta is competing in his first tournament as a counting member of the team.
HEPPLER ON THE TOURNAMENT – “It seems like this is the longest (winter break) where we haven’t been able to do anything. Other teams have played a time or two already, and that’s not usually the way we’ve gone about it. There have been some years when the weather has been good and we’ve had some shootouts with Clemson and Georgia. This is a resort course, and when we first started going down there, and it was a real challenge. Equipment has taken over a little bit, and it’s not nearly as difficult as it used to be.
HEPPLER ON THE YELLOW JACKETS – “[We didn’t play] real well [in qualifying], to be honest. East Lake is tough in February. We didn’t have any real nasty weather, but the ball doesn’t travel very far in the cold weather. I’m not sure if that’s an indicator of where we are or how hard the golf course is. But this is another team and another different lineup, and we expected that from the get-go. We’re trying to get guys beyond Ollie and Anders as much experience as we can before we get too far along in the spring.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 20th year under head coach Bruce Heppler. The Yellow Jackets have won 15 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 27 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.