Feb. 4, 2016
Waikoloa Village, Hawai’i – Vincent Whaley and Michael Hines each fired 1-under-par 71 Thursday to pace Georgia Tech, and the 29th-ranked Yellow Jackets posted a 2-over-par 290 and are tied for 12th place after the opening round of the Amer Ari Invitational, which begins Thursday at the Waikoloa Resort Kings Course.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Georgia Tech’s 290 total is 12 strokes off the pace of No. 5 Stanford and No. 7 Southern California, who are tied at the top of the leaderboard at 10-under-par 278. No. 23 UCLA is a stroke back at 279 (-9), while No. 16 Oklahoma State and No. 30 Oregon are tied for fourth at 282 (-6).
The Jackets are tied with No. 9 Arizona State and host Hawai’i-Hilo, while No. 1 Auburn is in 15th place at 293 (+5).
Nine of the 19 teams in the field are listed among the nation’s top 50 in this week’s Golfstat rankings.
TECH LINEUP – The Yellow Jackets began their round on the fourth hole in a shotgun start at the par-72 Kings Course at Waikoloa Village, collectively playing their final 15 holes even after a tough start.
Whaley, a junior from McKinney, Texas, had three birdies and two bogeys on his card, while Hines, a junior from Acworth, Ga., had three birdies and an eagle, two bogeys and a double bogey. Sophomore James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) shot 73 with two birdies and three bogeys, and sophomore Michael Pisciotta (Alpharetta, Ga.) provided Tech’s other counting score with a 75, one birdie and four bogeys. Sophomore Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) shot a 77.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Oregon State’s Conner Kumpula grabbed the early lead with a 6-under-par 66, followed by Stanford’s David Boote (67). The Cardinal’s Maverick McNealy, Oregon’s Zach Foushee, Southern California’s Rico Hoey, Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge and Texas Tech’s Hayden Springer are tied for third at 68 (-4).
Seven golfers are tied for eighth place after posting 70 (-2), and 14 more shot 70. Whaley and Hines are in a group of 16 tied at 71.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We got off to a slow start and then played the meat of the course well. We had an opportunity to play the scoring holes downwind and just didn’t take advantage. We just need to keep getting better each day.”
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.