Oct. 4, 2012
THE FLATS – Fresh off a big victory in the PING-Golfweek Preview Invitational, Georgia Tech’s golf team is back in action this weekend, defending its 2011 title in the Brickyard Collegiate Championship in Macon, Ga.
The sixth-annual event is being played Friday through Sunday at the Brickyard at Riverside Golf Club, with 15 teams competing over 54 holes. Top 25 teams such as Chattanooga, Georgia and North Florida, as well as 2010 and 2011 NCAA Champion Augusta State, join the 12th-ranked Yellow Jackets in the tournament, which Tech won by 17 strokes last fall.
Tech has played just two events this fall, but has experienced extreme lows (a tie for 11th at the Carpet Capital Collegiate) and extreme highs. The Jackets bounced back from the poor performance at the Carpet Capital to share the Preview title with California against a field that included 14 top-25 teams and on the golf course that will host the NCAA Division I Championship next May.
“Every year, a team has to find its own identity,” said head coach Bruce Heppler. “But if you have enough pride in your program, you don’t want to be the team that’s not successful. They’re always wondering how good they can be. The first round at the Farm was one of the worst rounds we had played in 15 years. The next two were better, and then, on a very hard golf course, they stayed positive and exhibited mental toughness. For 54 holes, those five players never hung their heads or let enthusiasm lag when they had the chance. That’s encouraging.”
Junior Seth Reeves shot a 4-under-par 66 on the final day to lead the Yellow Jackets and finished in a tie for second place individually at even-par 210. Sophomore Anders Albertson tied for 16th place at 3-over 214. Those two tied for second place at last year’s Brickyard (209, -7), and return this year along with sophomore Ollie Schniederjans and juniors Bo Andrews and Richard Werenski.
Andrews posted a top-10 finish at the Preview with rounds of 70-70-71, while Schniederjans tied for 22nd at 4-over 214. Werenski returns to the lineup after missing the Preview. He and Andrews tied for ninth at last year’s Brickyard at 215 (-1).
“The good thing about this tournament is we won last year, and we had seven guys finish in the top 15. It’s a place they enjoy going to,” added Heppler. “We took a beating in this tournament for a couple of years, but last year it all came together. Our guys now look forward to going there because they’ve succeeded there together and as individuals.
“We haven’t arrived yet. We need some guys to step up and challenge for the lead. That’s how you win these tournaments. We need some guys on the lead. We’ll see if we can do that. We’ve got a lot of growing to do.”
Schniederjans, Albertson and Andrews each average between 72 and 73 strokes for six fall rounds, while Reeves and Werenski are between 74 and 75, both looking to improve those numbers this weekend.