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Tech Among Favorites in ACC Golf Championship

April 19, 2007

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech begins defense of its 2006 Atlantic Coast Conference men’s golf championship Friday morning against a field that includes six teams ranked among the nation’s top 26 in the current Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

The 54-hole championship will be played out over three days, concluding Sunday at the Old North State Club at Uwharrie Point in New London, N.C. It is the 11th time in 12 years the ACC Championship has been contested on the 7,032-yard, par 72 course. Four of the five players who helped the Yellow Jackets earn a co-championship with North Carolina in 2006, including medalist Cameron Tringale, are back.

Clemson (No. 11), Tech (No. 12), Wake Forest (No. 20), North Carolina (No. 23), Duke (No. 25 and Florida State (No. 26) stand as the favorites heading into the weekend event. Seven ACC players rank among the top 50 in the Sagarin ratings, two each from Tech and Clemson.

“We’re going into this tournament playing as well as a team as we have all year,” said head coach Bruce Heppler, who has guided Tech to four of its nine previous ACC titles. “The team competition is as wide open as it has been for a long, long time. Four of our five starters are back from the team that won last year, and they’re looking forward to the golf course and the whole experience once again.”

Tech and North Carolina (each 21-under-par) were seven shots clear of Clemson in last year’s results, while Tringale and Taylor Hall each finished in the top 10 individually, and Kevin Larsen and Roberto Castro finished in the top 20. The Jackets have finished third, second and first during the careers of Castro and Larsen, and have won three times at Old North State.

“The weather looks good,” said Heppler. “The wind blows off the lake, and that makes the finishing holes very, very difficult. If it’s not blowing, then you can make some birdies. The success that we’ve had there has our guys looking forward to the event.”

Tech is in the final wave of teams teeing off Friday, paired with Maryland and the Tar Heels, beginning at around 11 a.m. The first groups from Virginia and Virginia Tech will tee off at 8:30 a.m.

Castro, a senior from Alpharetta, Ga., is ranked No. No. 11, and Cameron Tringale, a sophomore from Laguna Niguel, Calif., is No. 30 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. These two players are the only Yellow Jackets to participate in every event this year, and rank No. 3 and 5, respectively, in the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring average. Castro’s average of 71.64 and Tringale’s average of 71.82 would both rank among the top 16 ever recorded at Tech if the season ended today.

A three-time all-ACC selection, Castro has been the Yellow Jackets’ top performer this spring, averaging 70.54 over 13 rounds and posting top 10 finishes in five straight events dating back to the end of the fall. Castro captured his first collegiate title in February, taking co-medalist honors at the Puerto Rico Classic.

Tringale has three top-10 finishes in four spring events (tied for 17th in the other), posting a 71.23 average in 13 rounds. He tied for fifth at the UH-Hilo Invitational and tied for eighth at the Yellow Jackets’ most recent event, the United States Collegiate Championship.

The rest of Tech’s lineup for the ACC Championship includes freshman Chesson Hadley of Raleigh, N.C., senior Kevin Larsen of Santa Barbara, Calif., and sophomore Taylor Hall of LaGrange, Ga.

After failing to qualify for a fall event, Hadley made the team for its trip to Hilo and tied for 18th, and has played in every event since, averaging 73.38 over 13 rounds. Larsen, who tied for 12th last year at the ACC Championship, has finished no higher than a tie for 20th in seven team events this year, but has averaged 73.28 in 25 rounds this year. Hall, who tied for ninth in the ACC Championship last year, has averaged 75.42 in 19 rounds this year.

Click here for live scoring of the championship, as well as tee times and other information all three days.

Exclusive coverage of the ACC Men’s Golf Championship will be available via ACCSelect.com for fans to watch live beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

ACC Select’s exclusive coverage will include a recap of First and Second Rounds of competition, live Final Round coverage and the Awards Ceremony. Viewers can watch the Championship live or on-demand with an All Event Pass ($9.99 per month) or on a per-event basis ($3.99 per event).

Tech’s ACC Championship History

Georgia Tech is playing in its 26th Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Golf Championship, having won or shared the title nine times. All nine of Tech’s titles have come since 1985, more than any other ACC school in that period (Clemson has won eight). Tech has won four ACC titles under its current head coach, Bruce Heppler, most recently sharing the 2006 championship with North Carolina.

The Yellow Jackets have won or shared three of the 10 championships played at its current location, the Old North State Club in New London, N.C., which has been the site of the conference championship 10 of the last 11 years dating back to 1995.

Tech’s titles under Heppler occurred in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2006. The 2001 championship was won at Disney’s Magnolia Course in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the other three at the Old North State Club. Tech also has been the runner-up in the ACC Championship seven times, three times under Heppler.

Individually, five different Yellow Jackets have won ACC championships, including current sophomore Cameron Tringale, who became the first Tech freshman to win the title last year with a 10-under-par score of 206. Also winning ACC titles were Bryce Molder (2000), Mikko Rantanen (1994), David Duval (1991, 1993) and Bob McDonnell (1985).

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