May 15, 2013
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s golf team is used to playing against tough fields throughout the regular season, and this week’s task of getting through the NCAA Regional in Tallahassee is no different, with eight teams ranked among the nation’s top 50 in the 13-team field.
The Yellow Jackets, ranked 7th nationally in the Golfstat rankings and seeded No. 2 in this regional, begin play at the Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club at 8 a.m. Thursday paired with 6th-ranked Washington, the top seed, and 14th-ranked Florida State, the third seed and host institution. Also in the field this week are No. 19 North Florida, the Atlantic Sun champion, No. 30 Oklahoma, No. 31 Wake Forest, No. 42 NC State and No. 43 Oregon.
The five teams with the best 54-hole scores after Saturday’s final round will advance to play in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship, which Georgia Tech is hosting May 28-June 2 at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course in Milton, Ga. They’ll be joined at Crabapple by the top five teams from each of the other five regional tournaments in Baton Rouge, La., Columbus, Ohio, Fayetteville, Ark., Pullman, Wash. (No. 1 California) and Tempe, Ariz. UCLA).
Tech heads into the post-season having won twice this year, including the PING/Golfweek Preview Invitational and the United States Collegiate Championship. The fields of the 10 team events in which Tech has competed this year have averaged 9.5 teams ranked among the nation’s top 50, and the Yellow Jackets’ average finish has been fourth. The two events. In the two events Tech has won, the fields have included 14 and 12 top-50 teams, respectively.
“I think we’re in a good place,” said head coach Bruce Heppler. “Anders (Albertson) winning the ACC individual title was important for him. Bo (Andrews) winning the tournament before that will help. So this will be a great opportunity. It’s always a great time of year for these guys because school is out and they can concentrate on playing golf.”
Tech has a head-to-head winning percentage of 75.7 against the nation’s sixth-most difficult schedule, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. Tech is 37-23-5 against teams ranked in the top 25, 59-28-6 against teams ranked in the top 50.
“We could create a schedule where all these guys could win once a year, but that’s not why they came here,” added Heppler. “They came here to play against the best players and against the best teams, so when they win, it means something.”
Defending NCAA Champion Texas is the top seed in Fayetteville, while the current No. 1-ranked team, California, is the top seed in Pullman, Wash.
The rest of the Tallahassee field includes Oregon State, Iowa, South Florida (Big East champion), San Diego and Loyola, Md. (Metro Atlantic champion).
The Yellow Jackets are playing in an NCAA regional for the 16th straight year and for the 23rd time in the 25 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship. Tech has failed to advance through an NCAA regional only twice in 22 tries (2008, 2012). Heppler’s teams have won three regional tournaments outright, in 1991 in New Haven, Conn., 1998 in Daufuskie Island, S.C., and 1999 in Providence, R.I., and shared the 2002 title with Clemson in Roswell, Ga.
Five Tech players are ranked among the nation’s top 2000 players by the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index – ACC individual champion Anders Albertson (24), Ollie Schniederjans (27), Bo Andrews (112), Shun Yat Hak (138) and Seth Reeves (193).
Georgia Tech is taking one of its youngest teams ever into post-season play this year. Only Anders Albertson, Bo Andrews and Ollie Schniederjans have played in an NCAA championship event, and have a collective nine rounds under their belts. Those rounds all came last year in Norman, Okla., where the Yellow Jackets finished sixth and failed to advance to the Finals at Riviera. Schniederjans was Tech’s highest finisher, tying for 15th place with a score of 219 (+3).
The Tech team playing this week individually has two individual victories in 2012-13 Bo Andrews at the Gary Koch Invitational, Anders Albertson at the ACC Championship), five top-5 finishes, 13 top-10 finishes and 20 top-20 finishes. Ollie Schniederjans (Puerto Rico Classic) and Seth Reeves (PING/Golfweek Preview) each have posted runner-up finishes.
Collectively, the five Tech players this week have six top-5 finishes, 14 top-10 finishes and 23 top-20 finishes.
In terms of stroke average, Tech’s competitors this week rank in the ACC as follows – Albertson (5), Schniederjans (6), Andrews (15), Hak (16) and Reeves (36).
Andrews was one of eight players to advance out of local qualifying for the U.S. Open, shooting 69 to tie for second place Monday at Marietta Country Club. Albertson and Schniederjans each shot 71 to tie for 11th place and finished one shot out of a playoff for the final spot and the alternate spots.
Tech’s 2012-13 team has an average team score of 287.7, 1-over-par.
Tech has played only one golf course this year that plays shorter than the 6,965-yard layout at the Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club. The Rio Mar Resort’s River Course, used at the Puerto Rico Classic, measures 6,902 yards and plays to a par of 72. The Yellow Jackets finished fifth in that event this spring, and Ollie Schniederjans tied for 2nd with a 10-under-par 206.
NCAA EVENTS IN FLORIDA
Event Place +/-Par Score
1985 Championship, Haines City, Fla. 12th +49 1201
1990 Championship, Tarpon Springs, Fla. 11th +21 1173
Average finish in regular season events since 1984-85 – 4.5