Oct. 24, 2011
Alpharetta, Ga. – Bo Andrews and Seth Reeves each fired 3-under-par 69s Monday, lifting 12th-ranked Georgia Tech into the lead after two rounds of the sixth United States Collegiate Championship at The Golf Club of Georgia. The Yellow Jackets are attempting to capture their second consecutive title after not winning their home event in the first five years of its existence.
Tech, with a 6-under-par 282, played the 7,017-yard Lakeside Course two shots better than they did in Sunday’s opening round, edging past 24th-ranked UCLA, which shot the day’s best round of 7-under 281. The Jackets have a 36-hole total of 566, 10 under par and three strokes ahead of the Bruins.
No. 6 Washington, which was even par to start the day, was 16 shots under par Monday and opened a 9-shot lead at one point, then settled back to a 6-under-par total of 282 for the day. The Huskies are tied with Southern California and 4th-ranked Auburn, who both shot 288 Monday, for third place at 6-under 570. Every other team is over par for 36 holes. The 14-team field includes nine teams ranked in the nation’s top 30.
Head coach Bruce Heppler’s team finds itself in position to win the USCC for the second straight year, but with only one player (defending champion James White) who participated in last year’s 27-stroke triumph. The Jackets will tee off at 12:20 Tuesday in the last wave of teams.
“The goal at the beginning of every tournament is to be in the last group,” said the Tech skipper. “That’s where you learn all about yourself, and if you win anything, it’s most likely going to be from the last group. Based on where we stand at the moment, we’ll be in the last groups tomorrow with some really good teams. That’s what these guys need to do. They need to learn from it and grow from it. This will be a tremendous opportunity tomorrow.”
Andrews and Reeves, both sophomores with a combined 26 collegiate rounds behind them before this fall, finished 36 holes at 4-under-par 140, one stroke behind Southern California’s Steve Lim (66-73) and Washington’s Cheng-Tsung Pan (71-68), tied for third place with three others. Andrews had four birdies and a bogey in his round Monday, while Reeves took a more adventurous route, overcoming a pair of double bogeys and a bogey with an eagle and four birdies.
“They (Andrews and Reeves) play a little different game,” said Heppler. “You just have to do what you do well, and don’t feel like you have to be this guy or that guy to be successful. You have to understand what you do, stick to that and trust it. For those two young guys, it’s tremendous.”
Tech also counted a pair of even-par 72s Monday from All-American James White and freshman Anders Albertson, and its non-counting player, Minghao Wang, shot a solid 73. White is in a tie for eighth place individually after 36 holes with at 3-under-par 141. Collectively, the Jackets played the back nine in 4-under-par to overtake the Bruins and the Huskies.
“The back nine is a real challenge, but our guys went out there and met it, and it was awesome,” Heppler said. “We’ve got a mix of guys here who haven’t done this before. It’s just learning to keep playing. We need five guys to just keep plugging.”
Among the Tech players competing as individuals this week, freshman Ollie Schniederjans shot a 69 Monday, while sophomore Richard Werenski fired a 70. Werenski is tied for 13th in the medal race with a 2-under-par total of 142.
Final round tee times begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, and fans can view a webcast on the official USCC website (www.theuscc.org).