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Tech Rises to Tie for 17th at NCAA Golf

Scottsdale, Ariz. – Connor Howe shot even-par 70, and Christo Lamprecht a 1-over 71 to lead Georgia Tech in round 2 Saturday at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, as the Yellow Jackets improved by nine strokes over their opening round Friday. But they remain on the outside of the top 15 at they head to Sunday’s third round at Grayhawk Golf Club, finishing 36 holes in a tie for 17th place at 27-over-par 587.

In more benign conditions with an early morning tee time, but still unable to generate enough birdie opportunities, Tech posted a 9-over-par score of 289, better than four other teams that played in the morning and 18 teams in the field overall. The Yellow Jackets sat at the bottom of the leaderboard when they finished their round, but slowly floated up as the 15 teams in the afternoon wave played under more breezy and dry conditions. They stand two shots out of 15th place, where the field will be cut for the final round of stroke play Monday, and five shots out of eighth place. The top eight teams after Monday’s final round of stroke play will advance to the match play championship.

Tech’s playing partners Saturday morning – No. 11 seed Texas A&M and No. 12 seed Stanford, posted scores of 287 (+7) and 290 (+10), respectively. The Cardinal are tied for 14th place, and the Aggies are tied with the Yellow Jackets.

Tech stood at +17 after 36 holes in last year’s championship, posted a 15-over-par round of 295 in round 3 and still managed to make the 54-hole cut at +32, surviving a playoff with TCU for the 15th spot.

Tech tees off at 11:20 a.m. local time Sunday morning for round 3, starting on the first hole, paired with Texas A&M for the third straight day and either Stanford, Oregon or Florida, who are tied for 14th place. The 30-team field will be 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.

Round 2 highlights

TECH LINEUP – Howe used a string of three straight birdies at holes 2, 3 and 4 to erase an early deficit and post the best round of his career in an NCAA Championship, even-par 70 to follow his opening 76. He is tied for 44th place with a midway score of 146 (+6).

Lamprecht shook off an opening double-bogey to play 1-under-par the rest of the way and card a 71 (+1). Tech’s leading scorer in last year’s NCAA Championship, the sophomore from George, South Africa is low man for the Yellow Jackets after 36 holes at 144 (+4), tied for 28th place.

Bartley Forrester, who opened with a 73, went one better Saturday with a 72 that included three birdies, and the junior from Gainesville, Ga. Is tied for 32nd place after two rounds at 145 (+5).

Freshman Benjamin Reuter delivered Tech’s fourth counting score Saturday with a 76, off-setting a team-high four birdies with three double-bogeys. Ross Steelman shot 79 and did not count for the Jackets Saturday.

TEAM LEADERBOARD – Four players shot par or better to give top-ranked Oklahoma a 5-under-par round of 275 Saturday, lifting the Sooners past first-round leader Vanderbilt with a 36-hole score of 562 (+2). The Commodores matched their opening score of 282 and sit two strokes back at 564 (+4), followed by Oklahoma State at 566 (+6) and North Carolina at 569 (+9).

Defending champion Pepperdine (+16) is in fifth place, seven shots behind the Tar Heels, followed by Arkansas (+20), Auburn (+21), Arizona State and Texas (both at +22), Kansas and Georgia (both at +23), Mississippi and Texas Tech (both at +24). Stanford, Oregon and Florida (+25) are tied for 14th place.

INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Vanderbilt’s Cole Sherwood followed his opening 70 with a 67 Saturday and has a one-stroke lead individually at 137 (-3). Oklahoma State’s Aman Gupta and the Commodore’s Gordon Sargent are tied for second at 138 (-2), with Oklahoma’s Chris Gotterup and Mississippi’s Jackson Suber tied for third at 139 (-1). They are the only players under par.

"We did a lot of things great today, but we also had eight or nine three-putts to shoot 9-over. They got their way around the course pretty well, but those are just unforced errors. It’s so hard to get the ball on the green but when you do, you’ve just got to be better. The challenge out there is you’re going to get a lot of long putts. You’ve got to be really good at that, and today we weren’t. The rest of it was fantastic. We were rolling along at 1-over, and we get three three-putts at 15 and all of a sudden it’s 4-over, and you haven’t missed a shot yet. Connor shoots even-par with three three-putts, He played phenomenally. Christo hung in there, made just one mistake at the first hole and did a good job of not throwing stuff away. I think we’ll play in the afternoon tomorrow. We needed to shoot even-par today."

Head coach Bruce Heppler

 

Round 2 Gallery

Photos by Todd Drexler

TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals 30 times since 1985 (31 times in program history), which is tied for fifth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (36), Arizona State (34), Florida (33) and Texas (33), each of whom are in the field in Scottsdale. 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. Coincidentally, Tech last advanced to match play (2014) the same year it last captured a regional title.

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 collegiate 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 27 thru Sunday, May 31 (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 30 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 31, followed by finals on Wednesday, June 1.

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 second of three straight years that the Grayhawk will host the NCAA Championship.

  • Sunday, May 29 – Third round of stroke play competition (tee times based on 36-hole scores)
  • Monday, May 30 – Final round of stroke play competition (tee times based on 54-hole scores)
  • Tuesday, May 31 – Quarterfinals and semifinals of team match play
  • Wednesday, June 1 – Championship match to determine team champion

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 27th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 70 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 Ramblinwreck.com.

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