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Jackets Set to Host NCAA Southeast Regional Golf

May 18, 2010

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ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s golf team, ranked 14th in the nation, is the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional, which will be played May 20-22 at The Capital City Club Crabapple (7,186 yards, par 70) in Alpharetta, Ga. Oklahoma State is the top seed in the regional, followed by Arizona State.

The Yellow Jackets, who earned an automatic berth by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship last month, is playing in an NCAA regional for the 13th straight year and for the 19th time in the 21 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship.

The full Southeast Regional field, in order of seed, includes Big 12 Conference champion Oklahoma State, Arizona State, ACC champion Georgia Tech, Clemson, Arkansas, Wake Forest, Mississippi, Southern Conference champion Furman, Brigham Young, Georgia Southern, Big South Conference champion Coastal Carolina, Sun Belt Conference champion South Alabama and Colonial Athletic Association champion Towson.

The 10 individual competitors are, in order of seed, Mitchell Gregson of Kansas State, Kelvin Day of Charleston Southern, Jeff Karlsson of Kennesaw State, Tom Sherreard of Georgia State, Garrett Medeiros and Mark Joye of Wofford, Joe Ida of Kansas State, Justin Martinson of Delaware, Korbin Kuehn of Missouri-Kansas City and Robert Cerabone of Fairleigh-Dickinson.

The field for the Southeast includes three teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and two teams from the Southeastern Conference. In all, eight of the 13 teams coming to Atlanta are ranked among the nation’s top 50 in the latest Golfstat rankings.

Tech has failed to advance through an NCAA regional only once in 19 tries (the Yellow Jackets did not receive bids in 1996 and 1997). Heppler’s teams have won two regional tournaments outright, in 1998 in Daufuskie Island, S.C., and 1999 in Providence, R.I., and shared the 2002 title with Clemson in Roswell.

Tech Hosting a Regional for the Third Time

Georgia Tech is playing host to an NCAA golf regional for the third time, and the third different venue in the Atlanta area at which Tech has hosted, The 2002 East Regional took place at Settindown Creek in Roswell, Ga., with the Jackets and Clemson sharing the title, and the 2007 East Regional was held at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, Ga., which was won by Georgia.

The other five regionals are being held at South Bend, Ind., Warren Golf Course (Notre Dame host); San Diego, Calif., Carlton Oaks Golf Course (San Diego State); College Station, Texas, The Traditions Club (Texas A&M); Bremerton, Wash., Gold Mountain Golf Club (Washington); New Haven, Conn., Yale University Golf Course (Yale).

Each regional is a 54-hole, stroke-play event with 13 teams and 10 individials, or 14 teams and five individuals, competing. The top five teams after 54 holes and one individual not on those teams in each regional advance to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, June 1-6 at the Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn., outside of Chattanooga.

The other top-seeded teams at this year’s regional tournaments are UCLA at New Haven, Stanford at Notre Dame, Texas A&M at College Station, Oregon at San Diego and Washington at Washington.

Head Coach Bruce Heppler Says …

“The committee looks like it really made an effort to make things even. They have taken great care to balance the fields and send people places to make that happen. The dynamics have changed. You’re playing for five spots instead of 10 now, so you really have to play well.

“I’m really happy to be playing at home. We’re used to the weather and conditions, so we’ll see what we can do. Oklahoma State has been one of the best teams in the country all year, as they always are, so it will be a challenge to everyone here to beat them.”

About Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech, ranked 14th in the most recent Golfstat rankings and No. 18 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, will use the same lineup this week with which it won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship last month in New London, N.C.

Senior Chesson Hadley, who took the ACC Championship medslist honor by two shots in April, junior John-Tyler Griffin and sophomore James White anchor the Tech team this year along with juniors Kyle Scott and Paul Haley.

Hadley, Griffin and White each were named to the All-ACC team and have combined for 16 top-20 finishes, eight of those in the top 10

Griffin is ranked 30th nationally in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, while White is 48th. They rank fifth and sixth among ACC individuals in stroke average, Griffin at 72.21 and White at 72.32. Griffin has six top-20 finishes tihs year, five of those in the top 10, with a tie for second at the fall Brickyard Collegiate. White has seven top-20 finishes, two in the top 10. Hadley, third on the Tech squad with a 72.95 stroke average, has three top-20 showings, including his ACC title.

Scott, averaging 73.46, has four top-20 showings, including three in the top 10. Haley (74.16 average) has four top-20s, including a tie for fourth at the ACC Championship, and has played his best golf of the year in Tech’s last three events (T19 at Linger Longer, T15 at Wolfpack Intercollegiate, T4 at ACC).

Tech’s NCAA Championship History

Georgia Tech has played in the NCAA Finals 23 times in the last 26 years since 1985, a number surpassed by only three schools in that period, and has posted seven top-8 finishes in the last 11 tries. The Yellow Jackets tied for 10th last year.

Tech has been the runner-up in the NCAA Championship four times (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005), more than any team in the history of the championship except Houston, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Texas and Wake Forest, who also have four. In 1993 and 2002, the Yellow Jackets led after 54 holes, but finished second by one shot to Florida in 1993, and by four shots to Minnesota in 2002.

In 2000, the Yellow Jackets rallied to tie Oklahoma State after 72 holes, but lost to the Cowboys on the first hole of a playoff. Tech and OSU matched the lowest 72-hole team score in NCAA Championship history (36-under-par 1,116) at the Grand National Lake Course in Opelika, Ala. In 2005, Tech finished 11 shots behind Georgia, and seven shots ahead of third-place Washington.

Since Bruce Heppler became Tech’s coach, the Jackets have three second-place finishes, one third, one fourth and one fifth in nine opportunities, with one tie for 11th and two missed cuts in Tech’s other three appearances.

Three Tech players have won national collegiate championships. Troy Matteson did it most recently in 2002 at Ohio State. Watts Gunn (1927) and Charlie Yates (1934) won national titles under a match play format before the NCAA took sponsorship of the championship in 1939.

Other top-10 finishers for Tech include David Duval (runner-up in 1991 and 1993, T-8 in 1990), Bill McDonald (T-2 in 1988), Bunky Henry (2nd in 1967), Roberto Castro (3rd in 2005), Nacho Gervas (T-3 in 1986), Kris Mikkelsen (T-4 in 2001), Stewart Cink (T-5 in 1994), Bryce Molder (6th in 1998) and Matt Weibring (6th in 2000).

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