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Sept. 25, 2012

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

The question was simple: How’re ya doing? Seth Reeves’ answer Tuesday, after he helped lead Georgia Tech to a share of the PING-Golfweek Preview on Tuesday spoke volumes for the Yellow Jackets after a big win at the site of the next NCAA Championships.

“Fantastic,” he said after firing a 66 that helped the Jackets tie Cal at 845 atop the leaderboard at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple course. Reeves finished in an eight-way tie for second place with a 54-hole total of 210. “This time, we knew that physically we’re as good as anyone.”

Last time, on the other hand, was a mental and physical disaster. That made this sweeter.

In their season debut a couple weeks ago, they strung together three of the most forgettable rounds in perhaps the past decade of Tech golf. The Jackets tied for 11th in the Carpet Capital Collegiate near Dalton, ahead of two of 15 teams. In their last round before that, the Jackets imploded in the NCAA regionals to miss the NCAAs.

Not this go-around.

Tech and Cal, whose Bears had a flight to catch and therefore could not stick around for a playoff Tuesday, began the day tied for second place, three strokes in arrears of UCLA and two back of UNLV

Both squads dusted the Bruins and Rebels.

In addition to Reeves’ 66, the Jackets counted a 69 from freshman Michael Hines, a 70 from sophomore Ollie Schniederjans and a 71 from junior Bo Andrews. Tech and Cal each shot a team score of 276. No other team came within four shots of that Tuesday.

Overall, Texas and UNLV tied for third overall, at 13-over par 853 – eight shots back.

It was a sea change from the last time out, and Reeves said the Jackets did their best work between their ears in a 15-team field that included 14 ranked squads.

“Golf is such a mental game and . . . speaking for myself, at the Carpet Capital I pressed early and made some bad decisions, had a few bad holes and I blew up,” he said. “I felt like I had let my teammates down. Everyone in that tournament got into that same hole at some point or another.”

Coach Bruce Heppler did not feel bad for his players after that one, and he didn’t want them feeling sorry for themselves. The message: just go play and don’t worry about the little things. Grind.

The Jackets got something from everyone.

Hines’ Tuesday work was good for his first counting round as a collegian. Andrews was near the top of the leader board all three days, and finished one stroke out of the big tie for second place – a tie that included three Cal Bears.

Schniederjens was better as the tournament went along, firing 73-71-70. Albertson counted the first two days with scores of 71 and 70.

“Everyone had the belief that something good was going to happen,” Reeves said. “Nobody fell in that hole. We learned as a team yet golf is an individual sports, and we took what we learned and applied it. We were playing for each other, not to let each other down and not worrying about ourselves.”


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