April 6, 2007
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s golf team is set to host one of the nation’s premier collegiate events over three days next week when the second United States Collegiate Championship tees off Monday at The Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta.
All of the 15 teams in the field are ranked among the top 30 teams nationally in the current Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, and 10 of the nation’s top 14 teams are in the field, including No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Alabama, No. 6 Southern California, No. 7 Florida, No. 8 Oklahoma State (the defending NCAA Champion), No. 9 UCLA, No. 11 Clemson (the defending USCC champion), No. 12 Georgia Tech, No. 13 East Tennessee State and No. 14 Brigham Young.
Also competing next week are No. 19 Wake Forest, No. 21 Florida State, No. 22 Texas, No. 27 Georgia State and No. 29 TCU.
Individually, the field includes 21 of the current top 50 players in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings, including the nation’s top five – Jamie Lovemark of USC, Billy Horschel of Florida, Rhys Davies of ETSU, and Brian Harman and Chris Kirk of Georgia.
The field will play 54 holes, 18 each day, at The Golf Club of Georgia’s Lakeside Course, which plays to a par of 72 over 7,020 yards. There is no charge for admission. Tee times Monday and Tuesday begin at 9 a.m. and continue though 12:45 p.m., all off the first tee. The players will begin from both the first and 10th tees for Wednesday’s final round, beginning at 9 a.m.
“The quality of the field goes without saying. I don’t know that we’ve seen a better one this year,” said Tech head coach Bruce Heppler, whose team calls The Golf Club of Georgia home. “The conditions are very close to what goes on in Augusta, and we thought it would be unique to approximate those conditions for college players. The club is committed to that. The conditions are so much different this week. It’s not the way we see it the other 300 days a year. But we see where we’re going. Clemson played very well last year.
The Yellow Jackets, who tied for fourth place with Georgia in the inaugural event last April, have picked themselves up after a disappointing fall, posting a fourth-place finish and two eighth-place finishes in three events this spring. Tech’s most recent tune-up was a spring break visit to Williamsburg, Va., for three rounds at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, site of this year’s NCAA Championship.
Roberto Castro, a senior from Alpharetta, Ga., who captured medalist honors at the Puerto Rico Classic, has finished in the top 10 of each spring event, while Cameron Tringale, a sophomore from Laguna Niguel, Calif., has two top-10s and a top-20 to his credit. Castro, a first-team All-American in 2006, has risen to No. 12 in the current Golfweek/Sagarin ratings and has posted a 69.50 stroke average this spring. Tringale, a second-team All-American and a top-10 finisher in last year’s NCAA Championship, is close behind at 70.50 and ranked 39th in the nation.
The rest of Tech’s travel team for the USCC includes freshman Chesson Hadley of Raleigh, N.C., senior Kevin Larsen of Santa Barbara, Calif., and sophomore Taylor Hall of LaGrange, Ga. Sophomore David Dragoo (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and freshman Daniel Bowden (Easley, S.C.) are entered as individuals.
Hadley, a junior golf All-American, has played solidly in all three spring events after sitting out the fall, tying for 18th at the UH-Hilo Invitational for his best finish and compiling a 72.60 stroke average. Larsen, with a spring stroke average of 73.60, won the team’s qualifying tournament for this event, and Hall finished second to earn a spot in his second straight tournament.
“The guys who have played best played this spring played well [in Williamsburg],” said Heppler. “You hope Kevin is starting to get a little momentum. The other three guys played pretty well, and hopefully we can move forward with them.”
Callaway Golf, Siemens and Cadillac are the tournament’s primary sponsors.
The Lakeside Course at the Arthur Hills-designed Golf Club of Georgia, which also hosts the annual Georgia Cup match between the United States and British Amateur Champions, was voted “Best New Private Course” in 1991 by Golf Digest.
To get to The Golf Club of Georgia from Atlanta, take GA 400 North to Exit 11, and bear right onto Windward Parkway. Follow the parkway approximately two miles to Golf Club Drive and turn right (first right after stoplight at Clubhouse Drive). Follow Golf Club Drive past the gate to the club parking areas.