Las Vegas, Nev. – Led by a trio of golfers shooting 3-over-par 75, Georgia Tech’s golf team, ranked No. 3 in the nation, is off to a slow start in the Southern Highlands Collegiate against one of collegiate golf’s strongest fields, posting a 14-over-par score of 302 Sunday to sit in 11th place after the opening round.
TECH LINEUP – Seniors Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) and Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.), along with redshirt freshman Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), each shot 75 on Sunday to pace the Yellow Jackets, and are tied for 28th place individually. Senior Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) carded a 5-over-par 77 for the Jackets’ fourth counting score, while sophomore Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) did not count Sunday after shooting 78.
Sophomore Ben Smith (Novi, Mich), competing as an individual, posted Tech’s best score on Sunday with a 74 and is tied for 21st.
The Southern Highlands course, playing 7,374 yards long, yielded only nine subpar scores to the 84-player field Sunday.
Senior Tyler Strafaci was one of three Tech golfers to shoot 75 in the opening round. (photo by Scott Price).
TEAM LEADERBOARD – No. 23 Southern California was the only team that managed to break par as a unit, posting a 1-under score of 287 behind a 5-under-par 67 from Yuxin Lin and a 71 from Issei Tanabe. The Trojans are five shots ahead of No. 5 Texas (292, +4), whose best score was an even-par 72 from Pierceson Coody.
No. 22 UCLA is another shot behind at 5-over-par 293, followed by No. 26 Florida and No. 5 Texas Tech, each at 295 (+7). No. 16 Georgia shot 296 (+8) to take sixth place, followed by No. 2 Oklahoma in seventh place at 298 (+10).
The Yellow Jackets are 15 shots off the pace.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Yuxin Lin of Southern California and Davis Thompson of Georgia are tied for the lead individually with 5-under-par scores of 67. UCLA’s Devon Bling shot 68 Sunday and sits one stroke behind. Six players are tied for fourth place at 1-under-par 71.
"We were doing fine and ran into some trouble on the back nine, starting on 10 with a couple of double bogeys. The golf course is hard and played harder with a strong wind, and we didn’t handle it as well as some of the other teams. There’s not much margin for error, you can be a foot off here or there and really pay for it. But we’ll get back out here tomorrow and see if we can move up."
Head coach Bruce Heppler
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its 17th appearance in the Southern Highlands Collegiate and for the second straight year after a four-year hiatus. The 54-hole event runs through Tuesday and is played at the Southern Highlands Golf Club, a 7,374-yard, par-72 layout. The four low scores for each team are counted each round for the team total, and individual ties will be broken by a sudden-death playoff.
For the second straight year, the individual champion will receive a sponsor’s exemption to the PGA Tour’s Shriners Hospital for Children Open, which will take place Oct. 8-11 at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.
Seven of the top 10 teams in the nation, according to the Golfstat rankings, are in the 15-team field, including No. 1 Pepperdine, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 5 Texas Tech, No. 7 Duke, No. 8 Texas and No. 10 SMU. Also competing are No. 16 Georgia, No. 22 UCLA, No. 26 Florida, No. 28 New Mexico, No. 36 Southern California, No. 65 Central Florida, No. 69 TCU and No. 67 UNLV, the host team.
For the second year in a tow, through a partnership with Golfweek and USA Today Network the Southern Highlands Collegiate will feature exclusive livestream coverage on Tuesday, March 3, from 2-7 p.m. Click here to access the live stream.
Georgia Tech has won the event twice, in 2001 and 2002. Four Yellow Jackets, all of whom have competed on the PGA Tour, have captured medalist honors, beginning in 1992 when Stewart Cink and David Duval shared the title. Troy Matteson won a share of the title in 2002 with Florida’s Camilo Villegas, and Cameron Tringale win the tournament outright in 2009.
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the A-T Fund’s Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes, and Athletics Initiative 2020, Georgia Tech athletics’ ongoing $125 million initiative to allow Tech to recruit the nation’s most elite student-athletes, build a better student-athlete once they arrive on The Flats and, ultimately, win! To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.
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.