Sept. 23, 2016
Scottsdale, Ariz. – Chris Petefish fired a 3-under-par 68, and Luke Schniederjans added a 2-under 69 Friday for Georgia Tech’s golf team, which posted a 4-under-par round of 280 and stands in seventh place after the opening round of the inaugural Maui Jim Invitational.
TECH LINEUP – Tech began the day strong with 13 birdies on the front side and made the turn at 7-under-par, but leveled off on the back side.
Petefish, a junior from Danville, Calif., competing in the state where he played his high school golf, navigated the Mirabel Golf Club nearly error-free with four birdies and one bogey on his card. It was his lowest score in nearly two years, since posting a closing-round 68 during his freshman year at the United States Collegiate Championship – he broke 70 just twice last year – and put him in a tie for 15th place individually.
Schniederjans, coming off an 11-under-par performance for a victory two weeks ago at the Carpet Capital Collegiate, broke 70 for the third time in his first four collegiate rounds. The freshman from Powder Springs, Ga., recorded five birdies and three bogeys in his card to settle into a tie for 24th place.
Junior James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) remained steady for the Jackets with an even-par 71 (he shot 69-71-70 at the Carpet Capital Collegiate), while sophomore Tyler Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) added a 72 for Tech’s fourth counting score. Junior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) shot 74.
Freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.), competing as an individual this weekend, finished his round with three consecutive birdies and shot 69. He is tied for 23rd place along with Schniederjans.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Under pristine weather conditions featuring temperatures in the 60s when play began and low 80s when the round ended, five teams had their way with the par-71 Mirabel Country Club in the opening round. Kent State, with four players breaking 70 and three of them in the top 10 individually, grabbed the lead with a 20-under-par total of 264.
No. 28 Baylor is in second place at 269 (-15), with Kansas and No. 8 LSU tied for third at 270 (-14), and No. 20 South Carolina fifth at 272 (-12). UAB at 279 (-5), Tech at 280 (-4) and Houston at 281 (-3) were the only other teams among the 16 competing to break par Friday.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Kent State’s Josh Whalen, whose 7-under-par 64 included six birdies and an eagle, took the opening-round lead by a stroke over his teammate, Ian Holt, LSU’s Luis Gagne and South Carolina’s Scott Stevens, who each shot 65 (-6). At 5-under-par 66 are Baylor teammates Braden Bailey and Garrett May, the Gamecock’s Ben Dietrich and Kansas’ Daniel Sutton.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We got off to a pretty good start today, but just stalled out. The front nine here is probably a little easier. We just have to keep the ball out of the desert; we made some doubles that spoiled the round. Chris and Luke played solid rounds.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Maui Jim Invitational is being played through Sunday at Maribel Golf Club, a 7,147-yard, par 71 layout in Scottsdale, Ariz. It is the first time the event, hosted by Georgia State’s golf program, has been played. Competition resumes with the second round at 6:50 a.m. local time Saturday, with the final round beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday, off both the first and the 10th tees. Tech tees off the 10th hole Saturday at 8 a.m. local time, paired with 23rd-ranked California and 28th-ranked Baylor. Final-round tee times will be set based on 36-hole team scores.
The 16-team field includes No. 8 LSU and No. 20 South Carolina, both of whom advanced to the NCAA match play championship last spring, as well as top programs California and Houston.