THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s No. 8-ranked golf team, which earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship by winning the ACC Championship two weeks ago, and has been assigned to compete as the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Pullman (Wash.) Regional, to be played May 13-15 at Palouse Ridge Golf Club.
The NCAA announced on Wednesday night all 81 teams and 45 individuals who will competing for spots in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship, and the fields for each of the six regional qualifying tournaments. The top five teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championship finals, May 24-29 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark. Of the 81 teams, 31 were automatic qualifiers by winning their conference championships, and the other 50 earned at-large bids.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets are playing in an NCAA regional for the 22nd straight year and for the 29th time in the 31 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship. They are part of a regional field that includes 14 teams and five individuals.
The Pullman regional includes eight teams that are ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation according to Golfstat. In order of seed, the field includes Oklahoma (5), Georgia Tech (8), South Carolina (17), Texas A&M (20), UCLA (29), Brigham Young (30), Colorado State (41), Florida (44), Michigan State (53), Purdue (66) and automatic qualifiers Kent State (Mid-American Conference), Northern Colorado (Big Sky Conference), Wright State (Horizon League) and Iona (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference).
Tech is playing in an NCAA regional on the West Coast for the fourth time in the last five years, having played in San Diego, Calif. (2015), Tucson, Ariz. (2016) and Stanford, Calif. (2017) before playing last year in Raleigh, N.C. The Yellow Jackets look to advance to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2015, having come down to the final hole and failing to qualify by one stroke each of the past two years.
The Yellow Jackets are no stranger to travel, having played a fall tournament in Arizona each of the last three years and regularly playing spring events in Hawai’i and Las Vegas.
Each regional is a 54-hole, stroke-play event with 13 teams and 10 individuals, or 14 teams and five individuals, competing. The top five teams after 54 holes and one individual not on those teams advance from each regional to the NCAA Championship finals, which has a field of 30 teams and six individuals.
The other five regional sites are: Louisville, Ky. (University of Louisville Golf Club, top seed: Oklahoma State); Stanford, Calif. (Stanford Golf Course, top seed: Arizona State); Athens, Ga. (University of Georgia Golf Course, top seed: Vanderbilt), Myrtle Beach, S.C. (TPC Myrtle Beach, top seed: Wake Forest); Austin, Texas (University of Texas Golf Club, top seed: Texas).
Nine Atlantic Coast Conference teams were selected to compete in the 2019 NCAA regionals. The nine league representatives – Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, and Wake Forest – are the second most from any conference. It marks the 13th time in the last 14 years that at least eight ACC teams have earned a bid.
TEAM UPDATE – The Yellow Jackets stand No. 8 in the nation in the Golfstat, and No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and No. 7 in the Bushnell Coaches Poll. Tech has won six tournaments this year, one shy of the all-time high of seven won by the 2001-02 and 2013-14 teams and more than any other team in Division I golf.
This spring, Tech won a share of the Puerto Rico Classic title, took an 11-stroke victory at the Clemson Invitational and a 15-shot win at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship this spring. Tech finished sixth at the Southern Highlands Collegiate after holding the 36-hole lead, and was 12th in the Valspar Collegiate Invitational, both against extremely strong fields, prior to winning the Clemson event the first weekend of April.
In the fall, the Jackets won the Maui Jim Intercollegiate and were co-champions at the Carpet Capital Collegiate and the Jack Nicklaus Invitational, a match play event.
Tech is 32-22-1 against current top-25 teams this year, 55-25-2 vs. top-50 teams, and 76-25-3 vs. top-100 teams, and its schedule is rated the fifth-most difficult in the nation according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Index.
Statistically, Tech ranks No. 4 in the nation in average individual score (70.80), No. 2 in comparison to par (-0.87), No. 1 in first-round average (70.18) and No. 2 in par-4 scoring (4.01). The Yellow Jackets also rank in the top 10 in scoring on par 3s and par 5s, are No. 5 in total birdies and No. 3 in average drop score (74.88).
COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAYS – “We’re really looking forward to another trip out West. Our guys love to travel, and this will be our first trip to Pullman. One of the things that is great about this team is that they enjoy being together on the road. It should be a great three days of competition.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 24th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, having won 59 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in program history, made 28 appearances in the NCAA Championship finals 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). For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.