Aug. 14, 2014
THE FLATS – Ollie Schniederjans became the first Georgia Tech golfer since 2009 to reach the round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Championship Thursday, but he could make it no further when Gunn Yang birdied the final three holes of their afternoon match and eliminated the world’s top-ranked amateur at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
Schniederjans, who had taken 20 holes to defeat high school senior Sam Burns of Shreveport, La., in his morning second-round match, took his last lead in the afternoon contest with a par at the par-3 15th hole in a back-and-forth battle that saw three lead swings.
Yang, who played deft iron shots from the fairways, rough and bunkers all afternoon, birdied out of a fairway bunker at the par-4 16th, then stuck his tee shot on the par-3 17th to within 10 feet for birdie to recapture the lead. At the par-5 18th, he put his tee shot in the middle of the fairway and his second shot 15 feet from the pin with a chance for eagle.
Meanwhile, the Tech All-American was unable to convert his birdie putts at 16 and 17, and on 18 found a bunker right of the fairway off the tee. His second shot settled on the back fringe of the green, and the Powder Springs, Ga., native was unable to sink the lengthy chip. Both players conceded each other’s birdie and the match was finished.
Yang had won his third straight match by a 1-up score and completed a twin-killing of Tech golfers in the tournament, having beaten Seth Reeves in the opening round Wednesday.
“He was out of his mind. He played some amazing golf. He’s going to be really good if he keeps doing things like that,” said Schniederjans, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and a five-time collegiate champion in 2013-14. “I played pretty good golf, but I missed the critical putts. It was a pretty good showing if I could make a couple of 10-footers. That was a great match.”
Schniederjans’ theme after the afternoon loss was similar to one he had expressed after pulling out his second-round win in the morning. When asked what he would take away from the experience at Atlanta Athletic Club, he said, “I need to figure out how to stay more focused and less careless. I play too fast. I misread too many putts and misjudged too many shots.”
“I’m extremely disappointed,” he added. “It would have been amazing here on the weekend if I was still here.”
Thanks to everyone for supporting me. It was fun to make a run at it with so many people on my side. #gtgolf
— Georgia Tech Golf (@GT_GOLF) August 14, 2014
Like his morning 20-hole win over Sam Burns of Shreveport, La., Schniederjans took an early lead in the match, making birdies at the first, third and fourth holes to get ahead 2-up. But when he hooked his tee shot left on the par-5 fifth, Yang had an opening.
Making birdies on three of the next four holes and winning the ninth on a par, the San Diego State sophomore grabbed a 2-up lead. Schniederjans battled back with a par at 11 and a birdie at 12 to square the match, then nearly holed his shot from the back bunker at 15 while Yang made bogey out of the left-hand bunker.
In his morning match, Schniederjans led rising high school senior Sam Burns, 3 up with four holes to play, but an hour later, Burns had a birdie putt on the 19th hole to eliminate the world’s No. 1 amateur player.
Burns missed, and when Schniederjans made par on the 20th hole to Burns’ bogey, the Tech senior had escaped into the round of 16. Schniederjans said he learned a valuable lesson about thinking clearly and playing more slowly under pressure. While Burns made a birdie at the 17th to win one hole, he also benefited from double bogeys at 15 and 18 by Schniederjans to stay alive.
“I am just so thankful that I got through that round,” a relieved Schniederjans said. “He had a putt to win, and had he made it, that would have been really, really hard to handle. I’m glad I learned what I did. I should have already known that, but it’s amazing how under pressure sometimes things come up and it’s hard to think straight. I can’t believe I got through that match. It will make the starting hole of the next match a lot easier.”
ANDREWS DROPS SECOND-ROUND MATCH
While Schniederjans was going extra holes with Burns, his Yellow Jacket teammate Bo Andrews lost his second-round match, 5 and 3, to Zachary Olsen, giving the Oklahoma State sophomore two wins over the Tech graduate this year. The Cordova, Tenn., native won four of the first five holes, making birdie on the first and four pars.
Schniederjans’ matches Wednesday gave him a 6-2-1 record in match play competition this year, including a 3-1 record at the Palmer Cup. Andrews is 1-3-1 following his loss Thursday.
— Georgia Tech Golf (@GT_GOLF) August 14, 2014
TECH PLAYERS IN U.S. AMATEUR MATCH PLAY
Bo Andrews – 2014, defeated Chris Waters (Atlanta, Ga.), 5 & 4, lost to Zachary Olsen (Cordova, Tenn.), 5 & 3; 2013, lost to Gavin Hall (Pittsford, N.Y.), 2 & 1
Ollie Schniederjans – 2014, defeated Matt Teesdale (Maple Glen, Pa.), 6 & 5, defeated Sam Burns (Shreveport, La.), 20 holes, lost to Gunn Yang (Korea); 2012, lost to Adam Schenck (Vincennes, Ind.), 2 & 1
REMAINING SCHEDULE OF PLAY
Friday, Aug. 15: Quarterfinal round of match play on Highlands Course, 11 a.m. (TV: Golf Channel, 8:30-10:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 16: Semifinal round of match play on Highlands Course, 8 a.m. (TV: NBC, 4-6 p.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 17: Championship match (36 holes) on Highlands Course, 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. (TV: NBC, 4-6 p.m.)
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 20th year under head coach Bruce Heppler. The Yellow Jackets have won 15 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 27 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 (@GT_Golf). For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.