Oct. 20, 2012
Alpharetta, Ga. – Ollie Schniederjans shot a 2-under-par 70 and Seth Reeves chipped in with a 71 Friday as 12th-ranked Georgia Tech shot 291 (+3) and is in a tie for second place at the seventh United States Collegiate Championship at the Golf Club of Georgia.
Fourth-ranked Southern California, playing in the final groups, enjoyed some unexpected calmer conditions at day’s end Friday and used them to help grab the first-round lead. Enjoying 1-under-par 71’s by Sam Smith and Yi Keun Chang on a day when only 11 players broke par, the Trojans shot a team score of 1-over par 289 to make a late push past host Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, who are two shots back.
“When the wind comes up out here, it swirls, and it’s a lot like Augusta,” said Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “You think you know what it’s doing, but a lot of times it’s opposite of what you think. It’s a great test. You really have to play smart and patient.”
Tech held the team lead for much of the day, but faltered at the par-3 17th, taking two bogeys and a double-bogey to drop behind the Trojans, who got birdies from Smith at 17 and 18 to capture the lead.
“The wind died down for us and made the last few holes a lot more playable,” said USC Coach Chris Zambri, whose team captured the USCC team title in 2008. “I think we got a little bit of a break there.”
Until then, the afternoon was dominated by blustery conditions after a sunny, calm morning on the Lakeside Course, quickening the greens, penalizing errant shots and sending scores to a first-round average of 75.66. There were 13 players at 80 or better.
The tough conditions made even more impressive the 4-under-par 68 turned in by Oklahoma State junior Talor Gooch, who grabbed the individual first-round lead. Iowa’s Steven Ihm and Auburn’s Michael Johnson were a shot back at 69, followed by UCLA’s Anton Arboleda, Patrick Rodgers of Stanford and Ollie Schniederjans at 2-under 70.
“The first day it can get away from you,” said Heppler, who also counted a 71 from junior Seth Reeves, a 73 from junior Bo Andrews and a 74 from sophomore Anders Albertson. “But we hung in there. It should be an exciting 36 holes.”
Tech tossed out an 80 from Richard Werenski. Shun Yat Hak (72) and Bo Andrews (73), both playing as individuals, are tied for 12th and 19th, respectively, while Minghao Wang shot a 76 and Drew Czuchry carded a 79, also competing individually.
The final two rounds will be webcast live at www.golfweek.com/uscc. The 15-player field includes 3 of the top 6 teams on the Golfweek rankings and 12 of top 25. Defending champion UCLA is tied for 6th, eight shots back at 297.
The USCC is presented by Atlanta Classic Cars, Cisco, David Oakey Designs and Amerifleet Transportation.
The 54-hole tournament, which benefits the Folds of Honor Foundation and the GSGA Foundation, continues Saturday with tee times at 8:40 a.m. and concludes on Sunday.