May 16, 2016
Marana, Ariz. – Chris Petefish paced Georgia Tech Monday with a 2-under-par 70 Monday, and the 48th-ranked Yellow Jackets turned in a 9-over-par 297 and stand in 10th place after the opening round of the NCAA Tucson Regional at the Gallery Golf Club.
TECH LINEUP – All of Tech’s players experienced some erratic scoring on the 7,258-yard, par 72 Gallery Golf Club. Petefish (Danville, Calif.), who spent part of his high school career living in Arizona, played the with the familiarity expected, posting five birdies and a bogey in his first 17 holes, but even the sophomore didn’t escape trouble altogether, double-bogeying the final hole to finish at 70.
Junior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) birdied six holes but also posted a triple bogey and a double bogey on the way to a 75. Sophomore Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) had four birdies, but also three double bogeys in his round of 78. Sophomore James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) put together a solid 74 with two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. Junior Michael Hines (Acworth, Ga.) shot 86 and did not count for the Yellow Jackets.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Top-ranked Stanford, with four of its players breaking par Monday, shot 14-under-par 274 to open a nine-stroke lead over UAB (283, -5). No. 24 Oregon sits in third place following a 3-under-par 285, followed by No. 12 Wake Forest (286, -2) and No. 13 California (287, -1). The top five finishers after 54 holes are completed Wednesday will advance to the NCAA Championship in Eugene, Ore.
The next five teams are within 10 strokes of fifth place – UC Riverside (288, E), Saint Mary’s, Calif. (291, +3), No. 36 North Florida (293, +5), North Texas (296, +8) and Tech.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – UC Riverside’s Matt Lutz grabbed the early lead for the medal race with an opening 6-under-par 66, taking a one-stroke advantage over Stanford’s Franklin Huang and Wake Forest’s Paul McBride (67, -5). The Cardinal’s Maverick McNealy, California’s K.K. Limbhasut and Saint Mary’s Connor Blick are another stroke back at 68 (-4).
Stanford’s David Boote, Oregon’s Thomas Lim and UC Santa Barbara’s Brandon Bauman are tied for seventh place at 69. Petefish is tied with four others for 10th place at 2-under-par 70. Twenty-two players broke par altogether.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “There was a lot of really good golf today, but unfortunately way too many big numbers. We made 17 birdies today, which was plenty enough to have a really good round. But when you combined those with nine doubles and three triples, it doesn’t add up to a very good score. We need to clean up our mistakes and hopefully put up the same number of birdies over the next two days.”
REGIONAL INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets are playing in an NCAA regional for the 19th straight year and for the 26th time in the 28 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 venue is the Gallery Golf Club, which measures 7,258 yards and plays to a par of 72. Round 2 is set for Tuesday morning, with the final round Wednesday, both beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern time.
The Tucson Regional includes eight teams listed among the nation’s top 50 of the Golfstat rankings, including (in order of seed) national No. 1-ranked Stanford, the Pac-12 champion and an automatic qualifier, No. 12 Wake Forest, No. 13 California, No. 24 Oregon, No. 25 North Carolina, No. 36 North Florida, No. 37 Alabama-Birmingham, No. 48 Georgia Tech, Saint Mary’s (Calif.), the West Coast Conference champion, Georgia State, North Texas, Louisiana Tech, the Conference USA champion, UC Riverside, the Big West champion, and Siena, the MAAC champion.
The top five finishers at each of the six regional sites, all of which take place this week, will advance to the NCAA Championship, which will be contested May 27-June 1 at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
TECH NCAA REGIONAL HISTORY – Georgia Tech has advanced through an NCAA regional 23 times in 25 tries, and all but once since the NCAA went to a six-regional qualifying format in 2009. Head coach Bruce Heppler’s teams have won five regional tournaments outright, most recently in 2014, and tied for one other.
The NCAA began using regional qualifying tournaments in 1989, first with the 81 teams split among three sites (27 teams each), then with six sites with either 13 or 14 teams each beginning in 2009. Since the NCAA went to six regional sites in 2009, Tech has finished third (Bowling Green, Ky.), third (Milton, Ga.), tied for third (Radford, Va.), sixth/did not advance (Norman, Okla.), fourth (Tallahassee, Fla.), first (Raleigh, N.C.) and third (San Diego).