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Jackets Tee it Up at Linger Longer Invitational

Pairings and live scoring via Golfstat | Tech 2021 Spring Golf Schedule

THE FLATS – Staying close to home after three cross country trips this spring, Georgia Tech’s golf team competes this weekend in the 16th annual Linger Longer Invitational at Great Waters course at Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee in Eatonton, Ga. It is the only the second time the Yellow Jackets have participated in the event, having last played in 2013.

Head coach Bruce Heppler will take five players to the tournament, no individuals. Tech has already played four times this spring, more than many of the teams in the nation’s top 25, and won it last event three weeks ago at the Wyoming Desert Classic in Palm Desert, Calif. The Yellow Jackets also have finished seventh in the Camp Creek Seminole Invitational in Florida and the Southwestern Invitational in California, and third at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate Intercollegiate in Hawai’i. The Yellow Jackets’ slate includes seven events prior to the ACC Championship near the end of April, which will be played at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course in Woodstock, Ga.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets finished fourth out of 14 teams in a tournament shortened to 36 holes by rain in 2013, their only previous appearance in this event. The Linger Longer Invitational has been held at three of the six golf courses at Reynolds Lake Oconee – twice at The Oconee (2006, 2007), followed by five years at The Landing (2008-2010, 2019-2020) and eight years at Great Waters (2011-2018). This year’s tournament returns to Great Waters, which measures 7,436 yards and plays to a par of 72.

The format is 54 holes, 18 each Friday through Monday beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time from both the first and 10th tees, with the low four individual scores of five each day counting toward the team total. The field includes 15 teams, including co-hosts Kennesaw State and Mercer, as well as Augusta, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Florida Gulf Coast, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, High Point, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Mercer, Middle Tennessee State, North Alabama, Troy, Toledo and Virginia.

Noah Norton has posted a pair of top-10 finishes and is currently Tech’s highest-ranked player nationally.

 

TEAM UPDATE – Heppler’s 26th Yellow Jacket team is much younger than the one whose 2020 spring was abruptly ended last March. This year’s team did not play any events in the fall and collectively had seen action in a total of 54 collegiate events – 160 rounds – prior to the start of this spring season. Tech’s two elder statesmen, senior Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.) and junior Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah), had played 118 of those 160 rounds combined. Beyond that, the rest of Tech’s roster is quite green. No player on Tech’s current team is ranked among Golfstat’s top 50 individuals.

Will Dickson, a senior from Providence, R.I., who played as an individual in two events prior to January, resurrected his game in fall amateur events and led the Yellow Jackets in their pre-spring qualifying, and Luka Karaulic, a redshirt sophomore from Dacula, Ga., who had seen no action prior to January, have been regulars in the Tech lineup.

Tech also relies on redshirt sophomore Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), who owns the Jackets’ only collegiate victory but has only 21 collegiate rounds under his belt, junior Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.), sophomore Andy Mao (Johns Creek, Ga.), and freshman Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa), a highly-regarded international amateur.

Connor Howe has a tie for seventh and a tie for 19th in his last two starts.

 

TECH LINEUP – Tech’s lineup for the Linger Longer Invitational includes Norton, Howe, Lamprecht, Dickson and Forrester.

Norton – Two-time All-ACC honoree … Was the runner up in Tech’s last event at the Wyoming Desert Classic after tying for 10th place at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate, giving him 10 career top-10 finishes … Currently Tech’s scoring leader at 72.78 and is Tech’s highest ranked player in Golfstat (No. 238) and Golfweek/Sagarin rankings (No. 227) … Advanced to match play (round of 32) at the U.S. Amateur last summer and earned his way into two Korn Ferry Tour events, tying for eighth place at the Wichita Open.

Howe – Ranked No. 280 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, second highest among the Jackets … Earned his first career top-10 finish last time out with a tie for seventh at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate and followed that with a tie for 19th at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate … Has Tech’s third-lowest stroke average at 73.00 … Won the Southeastern Amateur last summer and tied for ninth at the Patriot All-America in December.

Lamprecht – At 6-foot-8, he may be the tallest player ever in the Tech golf program … Currently the highest-ranked Tech player in the Golfstat rankings (No. 224) this spring … No. 2 on the team in stroke average at 72.89 … Tied for sixth at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, his best finish of the spring … No. 138 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and South Africa’s No. 2-ranked amateur.

Dickson – Missed the Wyoming Desert trip but has a pair of top-20 finishes to his credit this spring after seeing action in just two events over his career previously at Tech. Dickson began to show promise last fall by finishing 13th or higher in all four amateur events he played, including a fourth-place effort in the Orlando International Amateur in December. He won the team’s 126-hole qualifying tournament and was Tech’s top finisher in both January events (15th at Camp Creek Invitational, 11th at Southwestern Invitational).

Forrester – The only member of Tech’s current team to win a collegiate tournament, sharing medalist honors at the Puerto Rico Classic last February in his second career start. He had a solid summer in amateur competition, tying for seventh place at the Palmetto Amateur and 19th at the Southeastern Amateur. His highest finish in three events this spring was a tie for 18th at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate.

"That’s the most golf we’ve ever played in a short time frame during a semester. We wanted to give these guys as much experience and competition as possible. It was great, but it didn’t allow a lot of time to work on individual skills. This break has given the guys that opportunity to work on the areas of their games they needed to. We qualified for one spot, and it was tight competition, only six shots between 1 and 6, and Bartley came through. Hopefully he can take that to the tournament and play well. [Great Waters is] a very good golf course, redone recently, it’s a Nicklaus design. This is where we took the team for qualifying for my very first tournament as head coach, so there’s some sentimental value for me. The weather is supposed to be great all weekend, so this is a good chance for us to really play well."

Head coach Bruce Heppler

 

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ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF

Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 26th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 65 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.

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