Rocky Face, Ga. – Luke Schniederjans played a 3-under-par, bogey-free back nine for an opening 69 to pace Georgia Tech, and the sixth-ranked Yellow Jackets posted a 7-under-par score of 281 Friday to take second place after the first round of the 30th Carpet Capital Collegiate at The Farm Golf Club.
TECH LINEUP – Four Yellow Jackets broke par Friday at The Farm, a par-72 layout which has been lengthened by more than 160 yards to 7,178 from the championship tees, to open Tech’s defense of its 2017 title.
Schniederjans, who in his collegiate debut won this event in 2016, overcame illness to play an even-par front nine and a mistake-free back nine. The junior from Powder Springs, Ga., birdied the par-3 11th hole, the par-5 12th and the par-5 15th coming home and settled into a tie for second place individually. Junior Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) fired a 2-under-par 70 round with four birdies and two bogeys on his card, and is tied for sixth place individually.
Meanwhile, junior Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) overcame a double-bogey and a triple-bogey with seven birdies to finish at 1-under-par 71, and sophomore Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.) each carded 1-under-par 71s to count for the Yellow Jackets. They are tied for eighth place
Senior James Clark (Columbus, Ga.), coming off a redshirt year, did not count for Tech Friday but posted an even-par 72, good for a tie for 22nd place.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Tennessee grabbed first place Friday after posting an 8-under-par total of 280, also with four players under par, and took a one-stroke lead over the Yellow Jackets. The Volunteers’ are competing under first-year head coach Brennan Webb, who was an assistant to Tech coach Bruce Heppler from 2012-15 before becoming the head coach for three years at Middle Tennessee State. His assistant coach is former Yellow Jacket Bo Andrews (2010-14).
Tech and Tennessee are the only teams under par. Alabama, whom the Yellow Jackets defeated in a playoff last September for their eighth Carpet Capital Collegiate title, and Kennesaw State are at even-par 288. Clemson (290, +2) and Auburn (293, +5) follow in fifth and sixth places, while Virginia and South Carolina are tied for seventh place at 294 (+6).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Alabama’s Davis Riley took the opening-round lead after scoring a 4-under-par 68, one shot ahead of four players, including Schniederjans and Tennessee teammates Jake Meenhorst and Brayden Garrison, at 69. Strafaci is in a tie for sixth place at 70 with Pablo Rodriguez-Tabernero.
Ogletree and Norton are in a logjam of 14 players tied for eighth place at 71. A total of 21 of the 81 players in the field broke pat Friday.
COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAID – “[Andy] made two bad swings today and paid for both of them, but other than that he played great. He made seven birdies and putted really well. Every starter went par or under again, and that’s the kind of depth we established last year. Luke played well despite not feeling well, and he made three birdies coming home.
“Only two teams broke par today. I think the course played more difficult (than in the recent past), and if you played under par, you had a good day. The conditions were perfect.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Carpet Capital Collegiate continues through Sunday at The Farm Golf Club, a 7,178-yard, par 72 layout designed by Tom Fazio near Dalton, Ga. The Yellow Jackets have been the institutional host of this event since its inception in 1989, winning eight times, most recently last fall in a playoff over Alabama. The 15-team field for this year’s event includes NCAA Tournament teams Clemson and Virginia from the Atlantic Coast Conference, as well Auburn, Alabama, Florida, LSU and South Carolina from the Southeastern Conference. Tech players have won medalist honors four of the last five years, including 2016 champion Luke Schniederjans.
TECH’S CARPET CAPITAL COLLEGIATE HISTORY – Georgia Tech has won the Carpet Capital Collegiate eight times in its 29-year history, most recently in 2017, the most of any participant. Clemson has won four times, Alabama three. Tech won the 2017 event in a playoff over Alabama. A Yellow Jacket has won medalist honors nine times, including four of the past five years (Luke Schniederjans in 2016, Jacob Joiner in 2015, Ollie Schniederjans in 2013 and 2014). Current PGA Tour pros Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, Troy Matteson and Bryce Molder also have claimed victory at The Farm, with Molder taking the title three consecutive times between 1998 and 1999, when the event moved from the spring to the fall schedule.