June 27, 2013
Matt Winkeljohn, Sting Daily –
Dogwood scoring: http://tpp.ghin.com/Club/Scoring/ResultsStroke.aspx?id=1620
Ollie Schniederjans is having a fine time playing in the Dogwood Invitational. No surprise, that. Who wouldn’t be happy to hold the 36-hole lead of an amateur golf tournament just a few miles from Georgia Tech, and not far from his hometown?
It’s not just Schniederjans’ scores that are pleasing. He likes the pace of play.
The rising Tech junior fired a 63 Wednesday at the Druid Hills Golf Club, and a three-under par 69 Thursday for a 12-under par total of 132 and one-shot lead over a young man named Michael Johnson.
That’s good stuff, obviously, made more enjoyable as the Powder Springs resident also relishes a difference between college team golf and the summer solo amateur circuit.
“It’s maybe a little bit quicker. College golf is a little slower,” he said. “I think the coaches being out there and trying to help their players makes it slow. I don’t like it when you get a bunch of coaches out there and they’re teaching their kids, telling them what to do on the par 3s. It just takes too long.”
Schneiderjans is on his own in the Dogwood, although Tech teammates Anders Albertson (140), Richy Werenski (144), Michael Hines (145) and Seth Reeves (146) are around should he need a sounding board between rounds running through Saturday.
“Our coaches . . . when they’re with us, it’s just to support us and maybe even speed up play,” Schniederjans said. “I see coaches from other teams talking through shots way too much, just stalling. We’re big on pace of play at Georgia Tech.”
Don’t mistake this for Schniederjans not liking college golf. He has that little nitpick about pace, but he’s had several conversations this week with other college golfers about the NCAA Championships, where the Jackets finished second in stroke play May 28-30 at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple course to make the eight-team match play field.
Tech beat UNLV 3-2 there when Schneiderjans won the 19th hole in his match with a fantastic wedge shot to a few feet for a tap in. That clinched it. The Jackets fell 3-0-2 to eventual national champion Alabama on June 1 in the semifinals.
“Yeah, I’ve talked some guys at some other tournaments, mostly congratulating Alabama on their win, and having people ask how it was or coming up to us saying, ‘Good run.’ “
The 90-man field at the Dogwood, which is considered among the finer amateur tournaments, is rife with competitors who were in the NCAAs. That includes Alabama golfers, and at least two all the way from the Cal squad that was upset in the quarterfinals by eventual runnerup Illinois.
Sure, Schniederjans prefers the quicker pace, but he wouldn’t trade away the experience of the NCAAs.
“Oh, yeah. It was an amazing event. Coming off of that, everything else just feels like not a big deal,” he said. “That was such a rush. Coming after that, every day just felt so boring because every day there was so exciting and the whole year was on the line.
“You’re super excited, the nerves are going, you’re jacked up to play. When I took time off after that, I was just dying to get back in a tournament because I was bored as hell at home.”
He hasn’t been bored at the Dogwood, where first-round leader Ben Griffin – a rising high school senior from Chapel Hill, N.C. – fired a course-record 61 Wednesday before rolling back with a 73 on Thursday. He’s two strokes behind Schniederjans in a three-way tie for third at 134.
The Dogwood is a fantastic event, and admission is free. The Druid Hills Golf Club is located just off Ponce de Leon, across the street from the Fernbank Museum. Scoring can be found here: http://tpp.ghin.com/Club/Scoring/ResultsStroke.aspx?id=1620 Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.