Fayetteville, Ark. – Freshman Connor Howe carded an even-par 72 on Sunday, but no other Georgia Tech golfer was able to post a round of par or better, and the 7th-ranked Yellow Jackets missed the 54-hole cut at the NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship. Tech tied for 18th place, three strokes behind 15th place Southern California.
The top 15 teams, led by No. 1-ranked Oklahoma State, have a final round of stroke play Monday, after which the individual national champion will be crowned, and the top eight finishers in the team race will be seeded for the match play competition, which begins Tuesday.
TECH LINEUP – Connor Howe started the Yellow Jackets off on the right foot, getting to 4-under-par without a bogey through eight holes, but the freshman from Ogden, Utah ran into trouble with a bogey and two straight double-bogeys at 12-13-14. He recovered with an eagle at 15 and a birdie at 18 to finish with a 72, the best effort by the Jackets on this day.
Andy Ogletree spent his round recovering from a quadruple-bogey 8 at the first hole, but played the remaining 17 holes 2-under-par to finish with a 74. The Jackets also counted a 77 from Tyler Strafaci, whose round included five bogeys and no three-putts, while Luke Schniederjans and Noah Norton each shot 80. Schniederjans, who had come within a stroke of tying the course record with his 67 Saturday, had only five pars on his card Sunday, also getting four birdies, a pair of triple-bogeys and a double-bogey.
Strafaci wound up as the Yellow Jackets’ highest finisher, tying for 34th place at 222 (+6). Schniederjans tied for 65th at 226 (+10), Howe tied for 88th at 229 (+13), and Ogletree tied for 96th at 230 (+14). Norton tied for 124th place at 235 (+29).
Tech’s last three players to finish Sunday all bogeyed the final hole, matching the gap between the Jackets and 15th place.
Coach Heppler audio
Connor Howe round 3 highlights
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Top-ranked Oklahoma State continued its dominance at the Blessings Golf Club, posting a 2-under-par 286 Sunday to finish 54 holes at 12-under-par 852. The top-seeded Cowboys opened a 25-stroke lead over No. 5 Texas and No. 10 Stanford, who are tied for second place at 877 (+13).
No. 6 Oklahoma (880, +16) has fourth place, followed by No. 3 Wake Forest at 881 (+17), No. 4 Vanderbilt (882, +18), No. 18 Texas A&M (884, +20), No. 13 Clemson and No. 30 SMU (893, +29), the lowest seed to make the cut.
No. 26 seed TCU, with an even-par round Sunday, made the biggest upward move of the day, 10 positions, to claim 10th place after 54 holes. No. 28 Ohio State, No. 20 Pepperdine, No. 11 Auburn, No 12 California and No. 9 Southern California also made the cut and move on to the final round Monday.
Tech, No. 2 Arizona State, which finished 16th, and No. 8 Duke, which finished 25th, were the highest seeds not to advance.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Two Cowboys occupy the top two positions in the medal race. Matthew Wolff, the 36-hole leader who tied the course record Saturday with a 66, shot 70 Sunday for a 54-hole total of 209 (-7). He is two shots ahead of teammate Austin Eckroat, whose 73 Sunday left him in second place at 211 (-5).
Georgia Southern’s Steven Fisk shot his second consecutive 68 Sunday and slid into third place at 212 (-4), while Chun An Yu of Arizona State shot 70 Sunday and has fourth place along at 213 (-3). Though their teams did not make the cut, they continue along with seven other individuals Monday, contending for medalist honors.
Justin Suh of Southern California, Zach Bachou of Oklahoma State and Isaiah Salinda of Stanford are tied for fifth place at 214 (-2), while the Cardinal’s Henry Shimp and California’s Collin Morikawa are the only other individuals under par through 54 holes (215, -1).
Tyler Strafaci shot 77 Sunday, but was Tech’s highest finisher individually, tied for 34th place.
HEAD COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAYS – “We certainly wanted to get to match play, because if you do, you have a chance to win the tournament. But this is a really difficult place, and I don’t think we ever got the right mindset of if you get in a bad place, you cut your losses. We made a lot of really big numbers, instead of just taking a bogey and moving on. But they fought, I thought. They’ve been here now, and know what it’s about. This place was very challenging, and we just didn’t handle it as well as I hoped we would.”
TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech reached the NCAA Championship finals for the 29th time since 1985 (30th time in program history), which is tied for fifth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (34), Arizona State (32), Florida (31) and Texas (31). Tech has posted nine top-8 finishes in the last 15 tries.
The Yellow Jackets have qualified for match play four times since the advent of the stroke-play/match-play format in 2009, finishing third in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014). Tech did not advance out of its regional in 2012, 2016, 2017 or 2018.
Tech lost to the eventual champion three times in its four forays into 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 advent of match play), more than any team in the history of the championship except Houston, Michigan, Texas and Wake Forest, who also have four, and Oklahoma State, which has five.
Andy Ogletree played his last 17 holes 2-under-par for a 74 Sunday, and tied for 96th place.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship field includes 30 teams, with Oklahoma State competing as the top seed. The championship is being contested at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark., which plays to a par of 72 (36-36) and measures 7,550 yards (3,673-3,877).
Finals play consists of 72 holes of stroke play – May 24 thru Sunday, May 26 (54 holes), after which the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team will be determined. That is followed by a final day of 18 holes of stroke play on Monday, May 27 to determine the top eight teams that will advance to match play as well as the 72-hole individual champion. The team national champion will be determined by a match-play format that will consist of quarterfinals and semifinals conducted on Tuesday, May 28, followed by finals on Wednesday, May 29.
GOLF Channel will provide extensive coverage of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships. Live coverage begins on Monday, May 27 from 3-7 p.m. featuring the final round of stroke play and the awarding of the individual medalist honors. Coverage continues on Tuesday, May 28, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. with the quarterfinals of match play and returns for the match play semifinals from 3-7 p.m. Coverage culminates with the championship match on Wednesday, May 29 from 3-7 p.m. (All times are CT).
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (All times local – Central)
Monday, May 27
- 11 a.m. – Tee times begin for final round of stroke play competition
- 3-7 p.m. – Live coverage on GOLF Channel
- 7:30 p.m. – Individual awards ceremony
- 7:45 p.m. – Quarterfinal Match Play pairings determined
Tuesday, May 28
- 7 a.m. – Match #1 and #2 begin (1st and 10th tees)
- 7:50 a.m. – Match #3 and #4 begin (1st and 10th tees)
- 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Live coverage (quarterfinals) on GOLF Channel
- 1:30 p.m. – Match #5 begins (winners of match #1 and #2)
- 2:20 p.m. – Match #6 begins (winners of match #3 and #4)
- 3-7 p.m. – Live coverage (semifinals) on GOLF Channel
- 7:30 p.m. – Semifinalist awards ceremony
- 7:45 p.m. – Championship Match Play pairings determined
Wednesday, May 29
- 2:25 p.m. – Championship Match begins (winner Match #5 vs. winner of Match #6)
- 3-7 p.m. – Live coverage (finals) on GOLF Channel
- Following Play – Awards ceremony