May 12, 2014
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans has watched some of his peers in junior golf cut short their college careers to pursue professional golf, but he will not join them there, at least not until after he graduates next spring.
The junior from Powder Springs, Ga., has affirmed that he will remain at Georgia Tech for his senior year to play golf for the Yellow Jackets and graduate next spring with his degree in Management.
“I want to get my degree from Georgia Tech, continue to be a part of the golf program for my last year and help the team win,” said Schniederjans, who carries a 3.3 grade-point average in Management and has a chance to graduate with honors. “Tech has given so much to me. It’s a place I really like and I can keep getting better here. We’ll have some young guys on our team next year, and I can help mentor them and do my part giving back to the program.”
A finalist for this year’s Ben Hogan Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur achievements over the last 12 months, Schniederjans has a lot to play for in the next year. Foremost among them is helping the Yellow Jackets make a run at the NCAA Championship this year and next. Tech finished second in stroke play last spring and reached the semifinals of the match play championship.
He has five tournament victories under his belt this year, which is tied for the NCAA Division I lead and a first in the history of Tech golf. That puts him only three shy of the Tech career record of eight, set by David Duval from 1990-93 and matched by Bryce Molder from 1998-2001. Returning next year will give him a chance to defend his ACC title.
His current season stroke average of 69.73 is the second best in Tech history, and his current career average of 71.28 in 101 rounds also is No. 2 all-time in program history. Though he did not win a college tournament in his first two years as a Yellow Jacket, he has 16 career top-10 finishes.
“There are so many good players coming out this year who have been good for a long time,” Schniederjans cited as another factor in his decision. “By staying for next year, I can be that guy and be in the best position relative to my peers. I can use the next year to plan all the things necessary to turn pro after we finish the season.
“We lose three great seniors from this team, and next year we’ll be a lot different. But Anders (Albertson) has the ability to have an amazing year, and hopefully I can continue to get better, and we’ll have four new guys that are pretty good and can play well for us.”
If he wins the Ben Hogan Award, which will be announced Sunday night, he will have earned two exemptions into PGA Tour events for 2015, which he would play as an amateur. Schniederjans earned one for the Valspar Championship by winning the Valspar Invitational at Floridian in March, and winning the Hogan would carry with it an exemption to the 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
His victories include a current three-tournament winning streak with triumphs at the Val¬spar Invitational, Robert Kepler Invitational and Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. The former Harrison High School star is currently ranked third in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and fourth according to Golfstat.
In the fall, the junior won a pair of prestigious college events, the Carpet Capital Collegiate and the United States Collegiate Championship. In all, he has eight top-10 finishes in 11 events, helping the Yellow Jackets to a top-5 national ranking. He was named the Southern Golf Association’s National Amateur of the Month as well as the ACC Golfer of the Month in April. Schniederjans placed 12th at the Western Refining All-America Classic last November.
Tech has won four of the five events in which Schniederjans has been the medalist, plus one other, the most wins the Yellow Jackets have accumulated in one year since 2001-02.
Schniederjans, who is currently ranked fourth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and ninth according to Scratch Players, has also been named to the United States’ 2014 Palmer Cup team as an automatic qualifier. Last summer, he was the runner-up at the Dogwood Invitational and finished among the top 10 at the Southern Amateur, Northeast Amateur and the Players Amateur Championship.