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Tech Golf Advances to NCAA Semifinals

Scottsdale, Ariz. – True freshman Hiroshi Tai sunk a huge birdie putt on the first playoff hole of his deciding match to lift No. 5-seeded Georgia Tech golf to a heart-stopping 3-2 win over Pepperdine in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship on Tuesday at Grayhawk Golf Club.

With the victory, Georgia Tech makes a quick turnaround to face Atlantic Coast Conference rival and top-seeded North Carolina in a national semifinal match, beginning at 4:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday afternoon. The winner will move on to face the winner of the other semifinal between No. 2-seeded Florida and No. 6 Florida State in Wednesday’s national championship match.

Tuesday morning’s quarterfinal came down to the epic duel between Tai and Pepperdine fifth-year senior Roberto Nieves. Tai was 3-down after just four holes, but came back to win five of the next seven to go 2-up with six to play. Nieves won two-straight to draw even, then the duo exchanged winning holes before halving the final three of regulation to send the match to a sudden death playoff. On the 19th hole of the match, Tai hit his approach shot to 15 feet on the par-4 10th, then drilled the match-winning birdie putt to send the Jackets to national semifinals. Tech’s semifinal berth is the second in school history and its first since its lone semifinal appearance in 2013 (match play was introduced at the NCAA Championship in 2009).

Senior Ross Steelman (d. William Mouw, 5&4) and fifth-year senior Bartley Forrester (d. Luke Gifford, 2&1) accounted for Tech’s other two points in the win over fourth-seeded Pepperdine.

Live television coverage of the national semifinals begins at 5 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

NCAA Championship Quarterfinals

Photos by Tim Cowie and Todd Drexler

REMAINING MATCH PLAY SCHEDULE (Times Eastern)

Semifinals – Tuesday, May 30

  • 3:45 p.m. – No. 2 Florida vs. No. 6 Florida State
  • 4:35 p.m. – No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Georgia Tech
  • GOLF Channel – 5 to 9 p.m. ET

Championship – Wednesday, May 31

  • 4:35 p.m.
  • GOLF Channel – 5 to 9 p.m. ET

TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals 32 times since 1985 (33 times in program history), which is tied for fifth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (36), Arizona State (35), Florida (34) and Texas (34), three of whom are in the field in Scottsdale.

The Yellow Jackets have qualified for match play five times since the advent of the stroke-play/match-play format in 2009, previously finishing third in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014. Tech lost in the quarterfinals each time, except for 2013 and this year, when the Jackets reached the semifinals. Tech lost to the eventual champion three times in its four appearances in match play – Augusta State by the score of 3-2 in the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011 and to Alabama (3-0-2) in 2013.

Tech has been the runner-up in the NCAA Championship four times (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005, all before the introduction of match play). Only Oklahoma State, which has 18, Texas (6) and Purdue (5) have more. The Yellow Jackets have finished in the top eight of stroke play 16 times.

In the three NCAA Championships played at Grayhawk Golf Club, Tech finished 15th in 2021, tied for 12th in 2022 and tied for fifth this year.


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF

Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 28th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 72 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 19 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 32 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 (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

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