Oct. 24, 2010
Alpharetta, Ga. – Riding the momentum of a record-breaking 10-under-par 62 from junior James White, host Georgia Tech stormed to a 13-shot lead in the first round of the United States Collegiate Championship Sunday.
The 14th-ranked Yellow Jackets shot a team score of 17-under-par 271 to take a commanding lead in the 54-hole event, obliterating the previous mark of 279 established by Georgia State in 2006. It was Georgia Tech’s first team lead in the USCC’s five-year history.
“It was a great day – lots of sunshine and a lot of birdies,” said Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
No. 16-ranked Texas A&M is in second place at 284, followed by top-ranked UCLA at 286. Southern California is fourth at even-par 288, and Virginia is fifth at 289. The field includes 15 teams.
Georgia Tech was able to count four under-par scores, with J.T. Griffin next with a 69 and Kyle Scott and Richard Werenski recording 70’s. White leads the individual race by seven shots, ahead of 69’s shot by Griffin, Duke’s Austin Cody, Jordan Russell of Texas A&M, and Jeffrey Kang and Steve Lim of USC.
The Yellow Jackets’ previous low team round at the USCC was an even-par 288 in 2009, when it eventually finished third. On Sunday Georgia Tech managed 26 birdies from their five players, against only six bogeys and a double-bogey.
White’s 62 was a new competitive course record on the Lakeside Course of The Golf Club of Georgia, bettering a 63 shot by Bruce Summerhays in the 1995 Nationwide Championship, a Senior Tour event, and was managed without birdies on two of the par-5’s. It was the second-lowest round ever by a Georgia Tech player, bettered only by Bryce Molder’s 60 in 2000. White had a dozen 3’s on his scorecard. The 62 knocked three shots from the tournament record 65 shot last year by UCLA’s Erik Flores.
“It’s my home course and I just love this place,” said White, from Acworth, Ga., who birdied six of seven holes to start the back nine. “It’s just great to play good in front of everybody.”
White came to the 564-yard 18th with a chance for 60 with an eagle, but pushed his drive into the woods, had to lay up to about 160 yards from the green and barely cleared the pond with his third shot. He two-putted from 60 feet for par, making a four-footer at the finish.
“The greens were running just perfect,” said White, who preserved the round by saving par at the 226-yard, par-3 17th from the short rough right of the green, chipping carefully and then making an 8-footer.
The USCC provides a unique experience in college golf, with caddies for every player and this year, for the first time, corporate skyboxes around the 18th green. That was the PGA Tour-type backdrop as White approached the green of the 564-yard par-5.
“That was awesome,” White said. “They did a great job with the tournament this year. It was really exciting coming down 18 and seeing all the people. That was really cool.”
Plays continues at 9 a.m. Monday with round 2.