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Tech Golf Aims for NCAA Championship

Carlsbad, Calif. – Georgia Tech, seeded No. 13 and coming off a fourth-place finish last week at the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional, is set to begin competition in the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship finals for the 33rd time in program history, looking for the program’s first national championship, when the Yellow Jackets tee off Friday morning at the Omni LaCosta Resort and Spa.

Head coach Bruce Heppler’s 29th Tech team returns three starters from a team that finished runner-up at the 2023 championship in Scottsdale, Ariz. Since the NCAA added match play to the format to determine its champion in 2009, the Yellow Jackets have advanced to match play five times and looks to return for the second straight year.

Tech enters the NCAA Championship having finished third at the ACC Championship last month before advancing through the Chapel Hill Regional. The Yellow Jackets have the ACC Player of the Year and the nation’s No. 5-ranked player in senior Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa), as well as two other players with NCAA Championship experience in senior Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) and sophomore Hiroshi Tai (Singapore).

Tech tees off at 4:50 p.m. Eastern time Friday afternoon (hole No. 10) and 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning (1st hole), paired with No. 14 seed East Tennessee State, who finished second at the Chapel Hill (N.C.) Regional, and No. 15 seed California, who finished second at the Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.) Regional.

Tee times and pairings for the remaining rounds of stroke play will be determined by team position on the leaderboard. Thirty teams will play 54 holes Friday through Sunday, with the field cut to 15 for the final round of stroke play Monday, after which the individual champion will be crowned. The top eight teams after 72 holes will advance to a match play bracket to determine the team champion on Wednesday.

Auburn, the nation’s top-ranked team and the winner of the Baton Rouge (La.) Regional last week, is the top seed at the NCAA Championship, followed by Vanderbilt (winner of the West Lafayette, Ind., Regional), North Carolina (third at Chapel Hill), Tennessee (runner-up at the Austin, Texas, Regional), Florida State (runner-up at the Stanford, Calif., Regional), Texas (champion at Austin), Virginia (runner-up at Baton Rouge), Texas Tech (third at Baton Rouge), Oklahoma (champion at Rancho Santa Fe), Arizona (fourth at West Lafayette), Illinois (champion at Stanford) and Florida (third at West Lafayette).

Georgia Tech practice round at the NCAA Championship, May 23, 2024

HOW TECH GOT HERE

Tech was ranked No. 10 in the Scoreboard NCAA Rankings at the start of the spring season, and currently sits No. 18 after finishing third at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship last month in Charlotte, N.C., and fourth at last week’s NCAA Chapel Hill Regional. Tech also has posted a runner-up finish at the Watersound Invitational, fourth-place finishes at the RE Lamkin Invitational, Linger Longer Invitational and the Calusa Cup, a fifth-place at The Goodwin and sixth-place at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate this spring.

Three of the five starters who teed it up for Tech in last year’s NCAA Championship are back for this edition, including ACC Player of the Year Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa), fifth-year senior Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) and sophomore Hiroshi Tai (Singapore). Only Forrester has played in all 12 stroke-play events for the Yellow Jackets this year. Lamprecht missed the Calusa Cup to play in the Masters, and Tai didn’t compete in the fall opener at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational. Head coach Bruce Heppler, who has coached Tech to 19 NCAA Championship appearances in his 29 years on The Flats, has started freshmen Kale Fontenot (Lafayette, La.) and Carson Kim (Yorba Linda, Calif.) in seven of the Jackets’ eight spring tournaments.

Forrester and Tai led the Yellow Jackets last week at the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional, each tying for eighth place at 8-under-par 202, while Lamprecht tied for 21st at 2-under-par 208.

Lamprecht, twice a tournament winner in 2023-24, is ranked No. 5 in the Scoreboard NCAA Golf Ranking, No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and No. 2 in the PGA Tour University Ranking. The senior has won the Byron Nelson Award and is a finalist for both the Ben Hogan Award and the Fred Haskins Award as collegiate player of the year. He tied for third at the ACC Championship last month.

Forrester has four top-10 finishes this year, including a tie for eighth at the ACC Championship, while Tai has three and Fontenot has one.

TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

Georgia Tech was the only team to make the 54-hole cut for all three NCAA Championships played at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and last year advanced to match play where the Yellow Jackets defeated Pepperdine and North Carolina before losing to Florida in the championship match. In stroke play, Tech finished 15th in 2021, 12th in 2022 and second in 2023 in stroke-play competition.

Lamprecht finished 44th, 32nd and 40th in his three trips around Grayhawk, while Forrester placed 75th, 15th and 55th. Tai is the only other Yellow Jacket with NCAA Championship experience, tying for 58th as a freshman last year.

Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals 32 times since 1985 (33 times in program history), which is the fifth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (37), Arizona State (35), Florida (35) and Texas (35).

The Yellow Jackets have qualified for match play five times since the advent of the stroke-play/match-play format in 2009, finishing third in stroke play in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014 and tied for fifth in 2023.

Tech has been the runner-up in the NCAA Championship five times (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005 before the introduction of match play, and again in 2023). Only Oklahoma State, which has 18, and Texas (6) have more.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION

The top five teams and the top individual not on those teams from each of the six regional sites (30 total teams plus six individuals, 156 competitors in all) advanced to compete at the finals which will be held May 24-29 at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif. The championships are being hosted by the University of Texas at Austin.

Finals play consists of three days of stroke play on Friday, May 24 through Sunday, May 26 (54 holes), after which the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team will be determined. That is followed by a final day of 18 holes of stroke play on Monday, May 27 to determine the top eight teams that will advance to match play as well as the 72-hole individual champion. The team national champion will be determined by a match-play format that will consist of quarterfinals and semifinals conducted on Tuesday, May 28, followed by finals on Wednesday, May 29.

Golf Channel will air live coverage of the NCAA Championship, beginning with Monday’s final round of stroke play and continuing through the entire match play bracket.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

  • May 24 – Stroke play round 1, 9:10 a.m. EDT
  • May 25 – Stroke play round 2, 9:10 a.m. EDT
  • May 26 – Stroke play round 3, 9:10 a.m. EDT
  • May 27 – Stroke play round 4, 10 a.m. EDT
  • May 28 – Match play quarterfinals, 9:20 a.m. EDT
  • May 28 – Match play semifinals, 3:45 p.m. EDT
  • May 29 – Championship match, 4:35 p.m. EDT

 


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF

Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 29th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, having won 72 tournaments in his tenure. Heppler is the 10th-longest-tenured head coach in Division I men’s golf. The Yellow Jackets have won 19 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 33 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up five times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

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