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Tech Golf Competing in its 30th NCAA Finals

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Scottsdale, Ariz. – After beginning the spring season in early January with only two returning players with appreciable experience, Georgia Tech has steadily developed and improved and is set to begin play in its 30th NCAA Championship as the No. 22 seed on Friday morning at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

After last year’s postseason was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Yellow Jackets are back in the championship finals with three new players in its starting lineup as they tee off at 10:05 a.m. Eastern time Friday morning and 3:25 p.m. Saturday afternoon, paired with Louisville and Sam Houston State for the first two rounds. Tee times and pairings for the remaining rounds of stroke play will be determined by team score. 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, and the top eight teams after 72 holes will advance to a match play bracket to determine the team champion on Wednesday.

Though only two of the Jackets have championship experience, Tech is in familiar territory as a program, having competed in the NCAA Championship more times since 1985 (29) than all but four schools – Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Florida and Texas – all of whom are in the field this year. Since the NCAA added match play to the format to determine its champion in 2009, the Yellow Jackets have advanced to match play four times and looks to return for the first time since 2014.

HOW THE JACKETS GOT HERE – Georgia Tech sits No. 26 nationally in the most recent Golfstat rankings and No. 26 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, having finished in third place at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional. The Yellow Jackets opened with an 11-under-par round of 277 at the Seminole Legacy Golf Club and finished at 16-under-par 860, two spots above their No. 5 seed. Freshman Christo Lamprecht (T5) and junior Ben Smith (T8) finished in the top 10 individually.

The Yellow Jackets tied for fifth place at the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference championship against a field that included four top-10 teams and 10 altogether that reside among Golfstat’s top 50 teams. Also this spring, the Jackets won the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate in February in California, and posted runner-up finishes at the Calusa Cup and Linger Longer Invitational.

Tech’s quintet to compete in the NCAA regional has quite a different look from the team that competed in 2019 and advanced to the NCAA Championship in Fayetteville, Ark. Since then, Andy Ogletree and Tyler Strafaci each won a U.S. Amateur championship, and Luke Schniederjans became the first Yellow Jacket in more than 50 years to win the Georgia Amateur championship. They all graduated in May of 2020 and elected to move on rather than take advantage of an extra year of eligibility, leaving quite a void to fill.

Four members of the Yellow Jackets’ current travel squad had no prior experience in either the Atlantic Coast Conference or NCAA Championship events. Only senior Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.), a two-time All-ACC honoree, and junior Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah), who had combined to play 118 of those 160 rounds, return to compete during the 2021 postseason and have NCAA postseason experience.

Both players have significant amateur achievements on their resumes – Norton won the 2019 Patriot All-American and has twice advanced to match play at the U.S. Amateur, while Howe won the Southeastern Amateur last summer. They have remained solidly entrenched in the Tech lineup this spring, combining for five top-10 finishes.

Freshman Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa) has been a regular in the Yellow Jackets lineup since the second spring event in January, and has risen to become the Yellow Jackets’ top-ranked player with four top-10 finishes (three top-5) and a team-best 71.42 stroke average.

Head coach Bruce Heppler has rotated five other players through the two other spots in the lineup. Junior Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.) entered the lineup for the Calusa Cup in early April and has given the Jackets a pair of top-10 finishes. Senior Will Dickson (Providence, R.I.) and redshirt sophomore Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), who owns the only collegiate victory (2020 Puerto Rico Classic) among the current members of the team, has seen action in six events this spring and both played in the No. 5 spot in the Tech lineup in Tallahassee.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION/FORMAT – Eighty-one teams and 45 individuals are competing for spots in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship finals in six regional qualifying tournaments. The top five teams and one individual from each regional will advance to the finals, which will be conducted May 28-June 2 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., which has a field of 30 teams and six individuals.

Each regional is a 54-hole, stroke-play event with 13 teams and 10 individuals, or 14 teams and five individuals, competing. Tech is part of a regional field that includes 14 teams and five individuals.

The Tallahassee regional in which Tech will compete includes eight teams that are ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation according to Golfstat. In order of seed, the field includes Florida State (No. 2), Georgia (11), Liberty (16), LSU (23), Georgia Tech (27), Georgia Southern (32), TCU (43) and Indiana (46).

Competition begins at 8:30 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, and at 8 a.m. for Wednesday’s final round at Florida State’s campus course, Seminole Legacy Golf Club, which measures 7,505 yards and plays to a par of 72.

The other five regional sites are: Albuquerque, N.M. (UNM Championship Course, host: New Mexico); Kingston Springs, Tenn. (Golf Club of Tennessee, host: Vanderbilt); Stillwater, Okla. (Karsten Creek Golf Club, host: Oklahoma State); Cle Elum, Wash. (Tumble Creek Golf Club, host: Washington); and Noblesville, Ind. (Sagamore Golf Club, host: Ball State).

Scenes from Thursday's Practice Round

Freshman Christo Lamprecht is the Yellow Jackets’ highest-ranked player at No. 73 in Golfstat, No. 66 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. (photo by Mike Olivella)


TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals 29 times since 1985 (30 times in program history), which is tied for fifth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (35), Arizona State (33), Florida (32) and Texas (32). Tech has posted nine top-8 finishes in the last 15 tries.

The Yellow Jackets have qualified for match play four times since the advent of the stroke-play/match-play format in 2009, finishing third in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014. Tech did not advance out of its regional in 2012, 2016, 2017 or 2018.

Tech lost to the eventual champion three times in its four appearances in match play – Augusta State by the score of 3-2 in the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011 and to Alabama (3-0-2) in 2013.

Tech has been the runner-up in the NCAA Championship four times (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005, all before the introduction of match play). Only Oklahoma State, which has 18, Texas (6) and Purdue (5) have more.

Three Tech players have won national collegiate championships. Troy Matteson did it most recently in 2002 at Ohio State. Watts Gunn (1927) and Charlie Yates (1934) won national titles under a match play format before the NCAA took sponsorship of the championship in 1939.

CHAMPIONSHIP INFORMATION/FORMAT – Finals play consists of three days of stroke play on Friday, May 28 thru Sunday, May 30 (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 31 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, June 1, followed by finals on Wednesday, June 2.

The entire championship is conducted on the Raptor course at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., which measures 7,289 yards and plays to a par of 70. This is the first of three straight years that the Grayhawk will host the NCAA Championship.

  • Friday, May 28 – First round of stroke play competition (Tech begins at 10:05 a.m. ET)
  • Saturday, May 29 – Second round of stroke play competition (Tech begins at 3:25 p.m. ET)
  • Sunday, May 30 – Third round of stroke play competition (tee times based on 36-hole scores)
  • Monday, May 31 – Final round of stroke play competition (tee times based on 54-hole scores)
  • Tuesday, June 1 – Quarterfinals and semifinals of team match play
  • Wednesday, June 2 – Championship match to determine team champion

TELEVISION – Golf Channel will air live coverage of the final round of stroke play Monday, May 31 (5-9 p.m. Eastern time), the team quarterfinals (12-3:30 p.m. ET) and semifinals (5-9 p.m. ET) on Tuesday June 2, and the team championship match Wednesday, June 2 (5-9 p.m. ET).


Will Dickson (Senior, Providence, R.I.) – Has three top-20 finishes to his credit this spring after seeing action in just two events over his first three years at Tech … Tied for 41st at the ACC Championship, and is fifth on the team in stroke average (73.85 over 20 rounds) … Played first two rounds (73-77) of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional but was replaced by Bartley Forrester for the final round … Began to show promise last fall by finishing 13th or higher in all four amateur events he played, including a fourth-place effort in the Orlando International Amateur in December … Was Tech’s top finisher in both January events (15th at Camp Creek Invitational, 11th at Southwestern Invitational), and tied for 15th in a strong field at the Calusa Cup … Golfstat ranking is 319, Golfweek/Sagarin 318 … Graduated May 8 with a degree in business administration.

Bartley Forrester (Sophomore, Gainesville, Ga.) – The only member of Tech’s current team to win a collegiate tournament, sharing medalist honors at the Puerto Rico Classic in February of 2020 in his second career start … Had a solid summer in amateur competition, tying for seventh place at the Palmetto Amateur and 19th at the Southeastern Amateur … Highest finish in five events this spring was a tie for 18th at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate … Other finishes all between 27th (Linger Longer Invitational) and 46th (Camp Creek Invitational) … Was Tech’s alternate player for the ACC Championship and NCAA Tallahassee Regional … Replaced Will Dickson in the lineup for the final round in Tallahassee and shot 71 … Has a 73.69 stroke average over 19 rounds … Current Golfstat ranking is No. 407, Golfweek/Sagarin rating No. 403.

Connor Howe (Junior, Ogden, Utah) – Has been a regular in the Tech lineup since his freshman year, mostly middle-of-the-order, and is playing in his second NCAA Championship … Tech’s highest finisher at the ACC Championship, solo 9th place, with a 3-under-pr 207 … Tied for 21st at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional (215, -1) … Ranks No. 161 nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, No. 174 in Golfstat … Earned his first career top-10 finish with a tie for seventh at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate, tied for 19th at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, finished 26th at the Linger Longer Invitational and tied for 23rd at the Calusa Cup … Has Tech’s second-best stroke average at 72.30 in a team-high 27 rounds this spring … Career stroke average of 72.56 over 72 rounds … Won the Southeastern Amateur last summer and tied for ninth at the Patriot All-America in December.

Christo Lamprecht (Freshman, George, South Africa) – At 6-foot-8, he may be the tallest player ever in the Tech golf program … Tech’s highest-ranked player this spring, No. 73 in the Golfstat rankings and No. 66 in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings … Tops the team in stroke average at 71.42 in 24 rounds, and has four top-10 finishes, including a tie for fifth place at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional (209, -7) … Also tied for third at the Calusa Cup, tied for sixth at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate and fifth at the Linger Longer Invitational … Tied for 15th at the ACC Championship (211, +1) … No. 159 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, No. 120 in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking, and South Africa’s No. 2-ranked amateur … Ranks high nationally in subpar strokes per round (20th) and par-5 scoring (28th) … Ranks fourth in eagles with eight this spring … Enrolled at Tech for the fall but had to take all classes virtually from South Africa because COVID prevented his departure to come to Atlanta … Arrived in January too late to participate in team qualifying and missed the Jackets’ first tournament (Camp Creek Invitational), but has played in every event since.

Noah Norton (Senior, Chico, Calif.) – Two-time All-ACC honoree, playing in his second NCAA Championship, and has been a mainstay in the Tech lineup for four years … Has top-10 finishes in three events this spring, including a runner-up at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate and a tie for third in the Linger Longer Invitational, giving him 11 career top-10 finishes … Tied for 31st at the ACC Championship, 28th at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional … Currently No. 3 on the team in scoring average (72.33) and ranks high nationally in most subpar holes (10th), most subpar strokes per round (57th) according to Golfstat … Career stroke average of 71.68 across 97 rounds, which would rank No. 8 in Tech history if his career were ended … Third-highest among the Jackets in Golfstat ranking (No. 189) and second in Golfweek/Sagarin (No. 163) rankings … Sits No. 48 in the PGA Tour University ranking, No. 72 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and No. 96 in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking … Advanced to match play (round of 32) at the U.S. Amateur last summer and earned his way into two Korn Ferry Tour events, tying for eighth place at the Wichita Open … Made it through U.S. Open local qualifier on May 5 … Graduated May 8 with a degree in business administration.

Ben Smith (Junior, Novi, Mich.) – Has competed in five spring events, playing solidly in all five, including a tie for eighth place at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional (210, -6) for his second top-10 finish in Tech’s last three events … Played two early spring events as an individual, and entered the starting lineup for the Calusa Cup in early April, where he tied for ninth place … Tied for 33rd at the ACC Championship, his lowest finish in five events … Poste a tie for 20th finish at the Camp Creek Seminole Invitational and a tie for 32nd at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate, playing as an individual … Owns team’s fourth-best stroke average at 72.40 across 15 rounds … Made a big leap in his Golfstat ranking (No.135) and Golfweek/Sagarin rating (No. 178) … Former Michigan Amateur Champion has 33 collegiate rounds under his belt in three years … Had three top-15 finishes in fall GCAA Amateur events, tied for fifth at Orlando International Amateur and sixth at South Beach Amateur in December.

Pre-championship press conference with senior Noah Norton and head coach Bruce Heppler

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Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 26th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 65 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 29 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up four 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


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