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Tech Golf Wins NCAA Salem Regional Going Away

Salem, S.C. Connor Howe and Hiroshi Tai set the tone with twin 6-under-par 66 scores Wednesday, and 11th-ranked Georgia Tech shattered a pair of school 54-hole scoring records after posting a 21-under-par round of 267 Wednesday to win the NCAA Salem Regional.

After setting a program record for 18-hole scoring in an NCAA post-season round Tuesday (266, -22), the No. 2-seed Yellow Jackets nearly beat that record Wednesday. Tech came up one stroke short of duplicating the 18-hole mark, but instead established a team 54-hole scoring record for an NCAA regional at 53-under-par 811. The Jackets won the Salem Regional by eight shots over Arkansas after starting the day seven shots behind the Razorbacks.

Tech’s 54-hole total of 811 at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls was the fourth-lowest score in program history for any tournament, and the 53-under-par mark was its third-best ever. Those scores easily surpassed the previous marks for the Yellow Jackets in any NCAA regional. (Side note: It also beat by one the score Tech shot on the same golf course in the 2019 Clemson Invitational, the last time the Jackets competed in a tournament at The Cliffs).

All five Yellow Jackets finished among the top 18 individuals, with Howe and Christo Lamprecht tying for third place at 14-under-par 202, Ross Steelman tied for 11th at 10-under-par 206, Bartley Forrester tied for 14th at 9-under-par 207, and Tai tied for 18th at 8-under-par 208.

Tech won an NCAA regional for the second year in a row after tying for top honors last year in Columbus, Ohio, and captured its seventh all-time regional title. The Jackets advance to compete in the NCAA Championship finals, which are set for May 26-31 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Wednesday highlights from Connor Howe

TECH LINEUP – Tai and Forrester, the first two Georgia Tech players out Wednesday, set the tone for the Yellow Jackets by putting up three birdies each in their first five holes. They continued to play steady golf the remainder of the round, each making only one bogey, and shot 66 (-6) and 67 (-5), respectively.

Howe, the third Jacket off the tee Wednesday, was 1-over-par after nine holes, but birdied 10, 11 and 12 in succession, then after a par at 13, made eagle-birdie-birdie on the next three holes. He bogeyed 17 but birdied 18 and posted a 66.

Steelman recorded six birdies and an eagle to fashion a 4-under-par 68, while Lamprecht birdied four holes on the back side and shot 69 (-3), which didn’t count toward the team total.

Tech played the more difficult front nine in 9-under-par, then came home with a 12-under-par back nine. The Jackets finished the tournament with a commanding lead on the field in scoring on par-4 holes (-30) and led the tournament in birdies (83).

Wednesday highlights from Hiroshi Tai

TEAM LEADERBOARD – Georgia Tech, the No. 2 seed, trailed Arkansas, the sixth seed, by 12 shots after round 1, and seven shots after round 2, and caught the Razorbacks within the first six holes Wednesday. Still neck-and-neck at the turn, the Yellow Jackets pulled away on the back nine with their 21-under-par 271, while the Hogs shot 6-under-par 282. Tech’s 53-under-par total of 811 was eight strokes clear as Arkansas finished at 819 (-45).

Top-seeded North Carolina (821, -43) and No. 8 seed New Mexico (822, -42) also locked up spots in the NCAA Championship, while host Clemson and No. 3 seed Texas A&M finished tied at 835 (-29), forcing a playoff to decide the fifth team to advance. The Aggies won the aggregate five-hole play off by two strokes over the Tigers and will be headed to Scottsdale next week.

Georgia Southern and San Diego State tied for seventh at 836 (-28), just one stroke out of the top five.

INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – North Carolina’s Ryan Burnett shot 68 Wednesday to complete a wire-to-wire victory with a 17-under-par score of 199. He was two shots better than Furman’s Sam Lape, who shot 64 Wednesday, posted a 15-under-par total of 201 and secured an individual spot in the NCAA Championship.

Georgia Tech teammates Connor Howe and Christo Lamprecht tied for third at 202 (-16), followed by Arkansas’ Segundo Pinto at 203 (-13). North Carolina’s Dylan Menante and New Mexico’s Albert Boneta tied for sixth at 204 (-12).

Defending U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett of Texas A&M, Clemson’s Kian Rose and Arkansas’ Wil Gibosn rounded out the top 10, each at 205 (-11).

NCAA Salem Regional Round 3

Photos by Andy Mead

Post-round interview with Connor Howe

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Eighty-one teams and 45 individuals competed 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 advance to the finals (30 teams and six individuals total), which will be conducted May 26-31 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The other regional winners were Auburn in Auburn, Ala., Georgia in Bath, Mich., Alabama in Norman, Okla., Mississippi State in Morgan Hill, Calif., and Arizona State in Las Vegas.

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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