Jan. 4, 2014
By Matt Winkeljohn
With this being the last chance Ollie Schniederjans has to get away from it all before jumping into a grind that will be a spring semester chock full of school and golf, the Georgia Tech junior is following through. He’s on the other side of the planet, in Australia, for . . . golf.
After participating in a Pro-Am Monday at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Victoria, Australia, he will compete Tuesday through Friday in the “Australian Master of the Amateurs.”
It is one of the top amateur tournaments in the world (click here for more) with one of the finest fields in the sport.
Schniederjans made it after putting together a brilliant fall season for Tech, and climbing to the No. 1 ranking among American-born players for June’s Palmer Cup. His autumn stroke average was 69.5, nine of his 12 competitive rounds were under par, two were even par, and his record against other golfers was 309-5. Australia is a reward of sorts.
“It is a really awesome trip,” Ollie said Thursday just a couple hours after arriving Down Under via 15-hour flight from Los Angeles. “It’s summer here, and the weather is fantastic.”
Schniederjans’ autumn run was that and more.
He opened by tying for medalist honors in the Carpet Capital Collegiate, next finished third in the Tar Heel Intercollegiate and then tied for fourth in the Brickyard Collegiate before winning the U.S. Collegiate Championship by four strokes.
The spring season will take Schniederjans and the Yellow Jackets far and wide. They’ll play in Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Palm City, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio, before the ACCs in New London, N.C.
That is quite an itinerary, but Schniederjans’ first trip to Australia is almost otherwordly. He’s traveled previously to Scotland, Wales and Japan.
His travel group is special as well.
After spending several days in California with, “friends and my girlfriend,” Ollie traveled to Australia with fellow college golfers Michael Johnson of Auburn, Cam Wilson of Stanford, Brandon Hagy of Cal and Jordan Niebrugge of Oklahoma State. He’s competed with and against them for years.
“I know them all,” Schniederjans said. “I think we’re going to try to go to a cricket game, walk around the city and get a feel for Melbourne. We’re just going to hang out and enjoy Melbourne, enjoy vacation, and play a couple practice rounds.”
Ollie was paired with Hagy and Niebrugge for practice rounds.
Class begins Monday at Tech, and Schniederjans will have some catching up to do when he returns to this side of the planet. He doesn’t seem to mind the idea.
“I’m missing the first week of school,” he said, “but this opportunity is worth the extra work I’ll have when I get back.”
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