May 5, 2014
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s golf team, ranked fifth in the nation in the Golfstat rankings and No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, has been made the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Raleigh (N.C.) Regional, which will be played May 15-17 at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, the NCAA Men’s Golf Selection Committee announced Monday morning.
The Yellow Jackets are playing in an NCAA regional for the 17th straight year and for the 24th time in the 26 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship. They are part of a regional field that includes 13 teams and 10 individuals.
The NCAA announced all 81 teams and 45 individuals who will competing for spots in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship, which will be conducted May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Golf Club in Hutchinson, Kan. The top five finishers at each of the six regional sites will advance to the championship site. The other five regional sites (with top seed in parentheses) are being held in Auburn, Ala. (Alabama), Columbia, Mo. (Oklahoma State), Eugene, Ore. (Stanford), San Antonio, Texas (Georgia), and Sugar Grove, Ill. (California).
The Raleigh Regional will play host to eight teams ranked among the nation’s top 50, including, in order of seed, No. 5 Tech (ACC champion), No. 8 Washington, No. 17 Florida State, No. 20 Texas A&M, No. 29 Mercer (Atlantic Sun Conference champion), No. 32 Kentucky, No. 41 Texas Tech and No. 45 Wake Forest. The rest of the Raleigh field includes South Alabama, Memphis, Minnesota (Big Ten champion), Rice (Conference USA champion) and Bethune-Cookman (MEAC champion).
“I like where we’re going, because it’s golf in the Southeast and typical of what we play on every day, from the weather to the grass,” said Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “At the end of the day, no matter which one you’re in, if you don’t play well, you’re not going to get out of there. So I’m not overly concerned with where everybody else is.
“We played a few holes [at the Lonnie Poole course] in the fall. It’s a big place, and that suits us okay, too. We’ve got some guys who can hit the golf ball a long way. The best thing about this time of year is we’re out of school, so guys can get their rest, and they can play and practice as much as they want. They look forward to it, and they’re enthused.”
The Yellow Jackets head into the post-season having won five times this year, including their last three spring stroke-play events – the Valspar Invitational at Floridian, the Robert Kepler Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, and the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. All five Tech competitors are ranked among the nation’s top 150 players by the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index – ACC individual champion Ollie Schniederjans (No. 3), Seth Reeves (23), Anders Albertson (74), Bo Andrews (127) and Richard Werenski (143).
No. 33 Clemson (Sugar Grove), No. 11 Virginia (Columbia) and No. 12 Virginia Tech (Auburn) also qualified out of the ACC.
Each regional is a 54-hole, stroke-play event with 13 teams and 10 individuals, or 14 teams and five individuals, competing. The top five teams after 54 holes and one individual not on those teams in each regional advance to the NCAA finals.
Tech has failed to advance through an NCAA regional only twice in 23 tries, and only once since the NCAA went to a six-regional qualifying format in 2009 (2012 in Norman, Okla.). Heppler’s teams have won three regional tournaments, most recently in 2002.
2014 NCAA RALEIGH REGIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Site: Raleigh, N.C., Lonnie Poole Golf Course (host – NC State)
Dates: May 15-17 (Thursday-Saturday), practice round on Wednesday, May 14
Teams competing (in order of seed): No. 5 Georgia Tech (ACC champion), No. 8 Washington, No. 17 Florida State, No. 20 Texas A&M, No. 29 Mercer (Atlantic Sun champion), No. 32 Kentucky, No. 41 Texas Tech, No. 45 Wake Forest, No. 54 South Alabama, No. 56 Memphis, No. 73 Minnesota (Big Ten champion), No. 99 Rice (Conference USA champion), No. 168 Bethune-Cookman (MEAC champion)
Format: 54 holes (18 each day). Each team has five players, with the low four individual scores each day counting toward the team total. The top 5 teams and the top individual not on those teams after 54 holes advance to the NCAA Championship May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Golf Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
About Georgia Tech Golf
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 19th year under head coach Bruce Heppler. The Yellow Jackets have won 15 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 27 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 (@GT_Golf). For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.