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Tech Golfers Compete in Watersound Invitational

THE FLATS – Continuing to work toward a defense of its 2023 Atlantic Coast Conference title and another berth in the NCAA Championship, 12th-ranked Georgia Tech heads to the Gulf Coast of Florida this week to compete in the Watersound Invitational in Panama City Beach.

The Yellow Jackets, No. 12 in the Scoreboard collegiate rankings and No. 9 on the Bushnell/GCAA coaches poll, finished in sixth place against a stacked field at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate top open the spring, behind the teams ranked ahead of Tech in the Scoreboard collegiate rankings and ahead of the teams that rank below. Tech enjoyed a solid fall season, finishing second at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational and third at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational and the East Lake Cup, as well as an eighth-place showing at the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational.

Twelve teams will compete over three days (Monday through Wednesday) at the Shark’s Tooth Golf Club at the Watersound Resort in the fourth edition of the event, which began in 2021 with all the teams in the field coming from either the Atlantic Coast Conference or the Southeastern Conference. Seven of the 12 teams are ranked in the top 25 of the current Scoreboard NCAA Golf Ranking, and eight are listed among the top 50.

After guiding the Yellow Jackets to the program’s 19th Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship last spring, head coach Bruce Heppler has three starters back for his 29th season on The Flats, including seniors Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) and Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa) and sophomore Hiroshi Tai (Singapore), each of whom are ranked among the world’s top 100 amateur players. They have formed the foundation of the Tech lineup throughout the 2023-24 academic year.

Eighteen holes will be played each day, starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time Monday and Tuesday, and 8:30 a.m. EST Wednesday.

Bartley Forrester led the Yellow Jackets with an eighth-place finish at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate. (photo by Mario Terrana)

 

TECH LINEUP – All three of Tech’s returning starters – Lamprecht, Forrester and Tai – are in the lineup for the Watersound Invitational along with freshmen Kale Fontenot (Lafayette, La.) and Carson Kim (Yorba Linda, Calif), the same lineup that competed at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate to open the spring slate last week.

Lamprecht is currently ranked the No. 1 amateur in the world, and No. 2 in the Scoreboard collegiate rankings. The 6-8 senior won twice in the fall, winning the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational and the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational while tying for 14th place at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational and the Amer Ari Intercollegiate last week. He owns a team-best 68.33 stroke average, which is on pace to set a Tech program record.

Forrester, ranked No. 96 in the Scoreboard rankings, led the Yellow Jackets last week in Hawai’i, tying for eighth place with a 15-under-par total of 201, the second-lowest 54-hole score of his career. He posted a top-10 finish at Olympia Fields and two top-20s in the fall. Tai, ranked No. 105, tied for 18th place at the Amer Ari after finishing 14th at the Golf Club of Georgia for his best fall showing.

Fontenot tied for 55th in Hawai’i, and Kim tied for 79th, but both players finished strong with a 65 and a 67, respectively, in the final round.

Sophomore Aidan Tran (Fresno, Calif.), who played in two fall events and tied for 49th at the Golf Club of Georgia, is competing as an individual.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is in the Watersound Invitational for the fourth straight year, having finished one stroke behind Vanderbilt last February after winning the 2022 tournament by five strokes over Alabama. Christo Lamprecht tied for second place in last year’s event, with Ross Steelman and Hiroshi Tai also finishing in the top-10.

The tournament follows the traditional collegiate 54-hole, 5-count-4, stroke-play format, with 18 holes each Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The event is contested at Shark’s Tooth Golf Course, a venue measuring 7,246 yards (par 72) that served as the host for the ACC Championship in 2022.

The 12-team field includes six Atlantic Coast Conference teams in Clemson, No. 13 Florida State, No. 12 Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, NC State and No. 10 Virginia, as well as No. 11 Alabama, No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 18 Mississippi State, No. 27 Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Penn.

 


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and 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 29th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, having won 72 tournaments in his tenure. Heppler is the 10th-longest-tenured head coach in Division I men’s golf. The Yellow Jackets have won 19 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 33 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up five 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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