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Golf Finishes Runner-Up in NCAA Championship

Scottsdale, Ariz. – Georgia Tech golf finished NCAA Championship runner-up after battling No. 2-seeded Florida in the national championship match Wednesday afternoon, falling 3-1, at the Grayhawk Golf Club.

Florida won the first pairing of the match (Yuxin Lin d. Christo Lamprecht, 4&3) before the Yellow Jackets gained momentum, taking the lead in the four remaining matches. But the Gators grinded it out down the stretch to pull away. Connor Howe battled, but fell to John DuBois, 1-up, to give the Gators a 2-0 match lead.

Bartley Forrester put Georgia Tech on the scoreboard, grinding out a win over Matthew Kress in 20 holes. Forrester had a chance to put it away, needing a birdie on 17, but couldn’t finish it out as Kress forced extra holes. On the 20th hole, Kress overshot the fairway, setting Forrester up to seal the win. The senior from Gainesville, Ga., won all three of his matches in the NCAA Championship.

Georgia Tech, which entered the championship as the No. 11 seed and finished fifth in the stroke play portion, would need to win the final two matches to rally for the national championship, but came up just short of the first title in program history. The 2023 NCAA individual champion, Fred Biondi closed out the victory for the Gators, defeating Hiroshi Tai, 1-up. Tai had clinched Tech’s win over Pepperdine in the quarterfinals.

Georgia Tech’s Head Coach Bruce Heppler:

On the turning point in the match:

“I think it kind of flipped on 17 and 18. It took matches to the pipe all the way to the end and they [Florida] made some birdies on 17 and we didn’t, and that was really the difference. Great team. Salute to them, they played well. We were just a little short again.”

On this team and their impact on the Georgia Tech golf program:

“They’re like your kids. They come and go, but they are always part of what you’re doing. I’ve heard some of the comments and it’s nice to be liked. But their commitment, this group here, was as good as any as we’ve ever had and they love each other. They work from 6 o’clock in the morning to 10 o’clock every night for nine months and were just a little bit short. There is not a better group of student-athletes in college and I know that for sure. They did a lot of good stuff and we’ll just keep coming back again.”

 

Georgia Tech vs. Florida, NCAA Championship Match

Photos by Tim Cowie/Todd Drexler Photography

TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals 32 times since 1985 (33 times in program history), which is tied for fifth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (36), Arizona State (35), Florida (34) and Texas (34), three of whom are in the field in Scottsdale.

The Yellow Jackets have qualified for match play five times since the advent of the stroke-play/match-play format in 2009, previously finishing third in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014. Before this year, Tech lost in the quarterfinals each time, except for 2013, when the Jackets lost in the semifinals. Tech has lost to the eventual champion four times in its five prior 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, and the championship match 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 2023). Only Oklahoma State, which has 18, and Texas (6) have more. The Yellow Jackets have finished in the top eight of stroke play 16 times.

 


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets 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 28th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 72 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 19 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 32 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 Ramblinwreck.com.

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