Rio Grande, Puerto Rico – Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) fired a 4-under-par 68 to grab a share of the first-round lead, leading No. 3 Georgia Tech to a 6-under-par score of 282 and second place after the first day of the Puerto Rico Classic. The Yellow Jackets trail No. 2 Oklahoma by one stroke.
TECH LINEUP – Starting on the third hole in the shotgun start at the Rio Mar Resort’s River Course, Howe stood 1-over-par through his first seven holes, then ran off a string of five birdies in his next six holes. The sophomore finished with five straight pars to match his best round of the year.
Senior Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) birdied six holes on his way to a 3-under-par 69 and is tied for third individually. Redshirt freshman Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) matched par with a 72 and is tied for 28th, while senior Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) posted a 73 and is tied for 38th. Senior Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) struggled to an 82 Sunday and did not count for the Jackets.
Senior Luke Schniederjans opened the Puerto Rico Classic the same way he finished the Amer Ari Invitational, with a 3-under-par 69. (photo by Michele Blunck).
TEAM LEADERBOARD – All five Oklahoma players broke par Sunday as the Sooners posted a 7-under-par team total of 281, taking a one-shot lead over the No. 3 Yellow Jackets (282, -6). No. 18 Georgia, with one subpar round and three even-par rounds, is tied for third place with Alabama at 3-under-par 285.
No. 23 Clemson and host Purdue are tied for fifth place at 2-under-par 286, the only other teams under par for the round. Mississippi is alone in seventh place at even-par 288.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Georgia Tech’s Connor Howe shares the first-round lead at 4-under-par 68 with Purdue’s Andrew Farraye, one shot ahead of a quartet of players at 3-under-par 69 that includes Tech’s Luke Schniederjans, Oklahoma’s Jake Holbrook, NC State’s Easton Paxton and Georgia’s Spencer Ralston.
Eleven players are tied for seventh place at 2-under-par 70, with 10 individuals tied for 18th place at 1-under-par 71, and 10 more tied at even-par 72.
"Teams struggled to make a lot of putts and the scores weren’t as low as they typically are here, but Connor and Luke did a good job taking advantage of the holes that are scoreable, and Bartley hit a lot of really good shots today. It’s nice when your fourth and fifth guys can shoot good scores for you. All in all, a good day for us."
Head coach Bruce Heppler
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its 28th appearance in the Puerto Rico Classic, typically the second event on the Yellow Jackets’ spring schedule after its opening trip to Hawai’i, having participated in every renewal of this tournament. The 54-hole event runs through Tuesday with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. local time Monday, and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. The event is played at the River Course (6,902 yards, par 72) at Rio Mar Beach and Spa Resort.
Six of the 15 teams in the field are ranked among the nation’s top 50 in the Golfstat rankings, led by top-ranked Oklahoma, Tech (3), Georgia (19), Clemson (24), Tennessee (28) and Mississippi (35). Also in the field are Purdue (52), Alabama (53), NC State (56), Ohio State (58), Marquette (65), East Carolina (70), Iowa (81), College of Charleston (89) and Maryland (104).
Tech tied Georgia for first place in this event a year ago, and has won the event six times and finished second six times. Seven Jackets have earned medalist honors, including Mikko Rantanen (1994), Stewart Cink (1995), Matt Kuchar (1998), Troy Matteson (2002), Roberto Castro (2007), James White (2011) and current junior Luke Schniederjans as a freshman in 2017.
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ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 25th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 61 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 29 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.