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Tech Golfers Face Tough Odds in Las Vegas

March 9, 2006

ATLANTA – Hoping to put a poor performance in its last outing behind it, Georgia Tech’s golf team travels to Las Vegas to play in the Southern Highlands Intercollegiate Championship, which begins Friday at the Southern Highlands Golf Club.

The Yellow Jackets slipped to fourth in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index following a 15th-place finish in the Puerto Rico Classic two weeks ago. It was their first finish outside the top 10 in an event since the 2003 NCAA Championship.

The 15 teams in Las Vegas, which include the nation’s top five (Georgia, Oklahoma State, Florida, Tech and UCLA) as well as seven other members of the current top 25, will play 18 holes each Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the 7,510-yard, par 72 layout.

Live scoring will be available at www.golfstat.com.

Head coach Bruce Heppler, whose team had recorded two victories and four other top-four finishes in six events this year, hopes to expunge that experience by sending the same five players to Las Vegas this weekend.

“You’re probably never as good as you think you are, and it’s never as bad as you think,” said Heppler. “So we’re going to do a do-over and take the same team out to Las Vegas and see if we can play more like we did in Hawaii.

“It’s a good field and a good golf course, so it’ll be a real challenge.”

Tech’s top players, Kevin Larsen and Roberto Castro, slipped to ninth and 12th, respectively, in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin national ratings. Larsen, a junior from Santa Barbara, Calif., who tied for 59th in Puerto Rico, still owns the lowest stroke average (71.11) on Tech’s team and among Atlantic Coast Conference players. Castro, a junior from Alpharetta, Ga., who tied for 38th at Puerto Rico, has a 71.28 average which is third in the ACC.

Those two players own seven top-10 and 10 to–20 finishes between them, while Cameron Tringale, a freshman from Laguna Niguel, Calif., who is ranked 38th nationally, has a 72.22 stroke average and won the individual title at the UH-Hilo Invitational.

Taylor Hall, a freshman from LaGrange, Ga., with one top 10 finish and a 73.00 stroke average, and Mike Barbosa, a senior from St. Petersburg, Fla., with a 73.89 norm, round out Tech’s travel squad.

“The Puerto Rico tournament was about as poorly as we have played in a long time,” added Heppler. “We’ve had a good week of practice, and everyone understands that the performance at Puerto Rico is not up to our standards, and we need to get back to playing like we did the rest of the year.”

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