April 15, 2011
Please note: Members of the media and fans who wish to attend the Yellow Jacket Classic this weekend are advised that club rules involving dress must be observed. Collared shirts must be worn; jeans and cargo shorts are prohibited.
ATLANTA – Making its final preparations to defend its Atlantic Coast Conference championship, Georgia Tech’s 4th-ranked golf team returns to action Saturday and Sunday in the Yellow Jacket Classic at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, Ga.
The 36-hole tournament (18 holes each Saturday and Sunday) has a small field which includes Georgia State, Troy, UAB and UNC Wilmington. Tee times begin at 1 p.m. each day. The format is the same as a typical collegiate stroke-play event, each team fielding five players, with the low four scores each round counting toward the team total.
“”We haven’t played since the [Callaway Match Play, March 20-22],” said Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “We’ve played at various places around town, but a week to 10 days out, you’d like to put a pencil to it and get back to competing, and there was no other event that would resemble Old North State (venue for the ACC Championship) this year. So we decided the best place was where we play every day. So we’re having a small event here, just 36 holes, on a weekend so we can try and gain a little momentum.”
The Yellow Jackets are ranked No. 4 in this week’s Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, highest among teams in the ACC. Three Tech players are ranked among the nation’s top 25 – junior James White (8), senior John-Tyler Griffin (13) and senior Kyle Scott (23). They will form the Jackets’ starting five this weekend along with senior Paul Haley (ranked No. 127) and freshman Richard Werenski (No. 148).
“They’ve played the whole year,” said Heppler. “Our average drop score is one of the best in the country, so that tells you that your fifth guy is pretty good. It’s an experienced group, four guys who earned their way last year with an ACC Championship and match play at the NCAAs, and a freshman who grabbed the fifth spot.”
This weekend’s event marks Tech’s first competition on its home course, the 7,017-yard, par 72 Lakeside Course at the Golf Club of Georgia, since winning the annual United States Collegiate Championship last fall. The Yellow Jackets defeated top-ranked UCLA by 27 shots in that event, and White won medalist honors by seven strokes.
TECH UPDATE – White, Griffin and Scott all rank in the ACC’s top 10 in scoring average this week. White leads the team and ranked No. 3 at 71.3, posting five top-10 finishes and two wins in seven events this year. Griffin is No. 4 in the ACC at 71.4, with five top-10s in eight events, and Scott is tied for 10th at 72.0, posting three top-10s in seven tournaments.
Haley has three top-10 finishes and a 73.4 average in eight events, and Werenski has one top-10 and a 73.8 norm in seven tournaments.
Tech has a 27-19 head-to-head record this year against teams ranked in the nation’s top 25 and a 53-23-1 against teams in the top 50, and its strength of schedule is ranked No. 4. The Yellow Jackets’ average drop (non-counting) score is 71.79, the third-best figure in the nation.
NEXT UP – Georgia Tech defends its ACC title next weekend, April 22-24, at the Old North State Club in New London, N.C. The Yellow Jackets have won or shared the championship each of the last four years.