Oct. 9, 2009
ATLANTA – In its third of four fall events, Georgia Tech’s golf team looks for its first victory in three tries at the Brickyard Collegiate this weekend in Macon, Ga.
The 54-hole event begins Saturday at the Brickyard at Riverside, a 7,510-yard, par-72 course designed by Mark McCumber, with 18 holes also scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
At No. 21 in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, Georgia Tech is outranked by only one team in the 15-team field, No. 7 Florida State. Also competing are No. 29 Augusta State, No. 24 Chattanooga, No. 59 Charlotte, No. 56 Clemson, No. 39 Georgia, No. 45 LSU, No. 51 Penn State, No. 38 VCU and No. 49 Virginia Tech.
“We’ve played well down there, though we haven’t won, and I expect we will again,” said head coach Bruce Heppler, whose Yellow Jackets finished second last year and third in the inaugural event the year before. “A lot of people can come watch us play there. The field continues to get better.”
Senior Chesson Hadley, a 2008 All-American from Raleigh, N.C., led Tech’s players in the team’s 54-hole qualifying event last weekend, posting a score of 6-under-par 210 to make the travel team for the second time this fall. Head coach Bruce Heppler also will send freshman Bo Andrews (Raleigh, N.C.), junior Kyle Scott (Johannesburg, South Africa), sophomore Minghao Wang (Reunion, Fla.) and junior Paul Haley (Dallas, Texas).
Hadley did not play in the Carpet Capital Collegiate but shot even par and tied for 21st at the Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate two weeks ago. Scott, a transfer from Division II West Florida, has played well in both Tech events this fall, tying for 24th at the Carpet Capital and 10th at the Mason Rudolph.
Andrews (T-24) and Wang (T-29) both played the Carpet Capital but did not make the travel team for the Mason Rudolph, while Haley has averaged 72.20 strokes and tied for 14th at the Carpet Capital.
The nature of Tech’s team qualifying, in which the Yellow Jackets play for all five spots for the fall events, means Tech’s scoring average leader (71.00 stroke average), junior John-Tyler Griffin (Wilson, N.C.), will not play as a counting member this week. Griffin posted a pair of top-20 finishes in the Jackets’ first two events, including a tie for fourth at the Mason Rudolph, but finished sixth in team qualifying and will play as an individual this weekend. Sophomore James White (Acworth, Ga.), who tied for 30th at the Mason Rudolph, also will play as an individual in Macon.
“It was pretty competitive again. Four of the five that earned their spots were under par,” said Heppler. “We went back a little far for our fifth guy, but our scoring averages at home (at East Lake Golf Club and the Golf Club of Georgia) are pretty good. We don’t play easy courses. And better play at home will show up on the road.”
Griffin is Tech’s highest ranked player in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings at No. 85, while Scott is next at No. 159. Wang, Hadley and Haley, all counting for Tech this week, are outside the top 200, yet the Jackets are ranked 21st as a team. Four Tech players have stroke averages under 72.