Oct. 21, 2011
ATLANTA – All-American James White and Georgia Tech’s 6th-ranked golf team will be at the Golf Club of Georgia to defend their 2010 titles at the sixth annual United States Collegiate Championship golf tournament Sunday through Tuesday.
With his 12-under-par total of 204, including an opening 62, White scored a 5-shot victory in the medal race last fall, while the Yellow Jackets raced to a 27-stroke win over top-ranked UCLA in the team race. It served as a springboard both for White, who went on to earn first-team All-America honors, and for Tech, which won its third consecutive ACC Championship and reached the match play portion of the NCAA Championship for the second year.
“It’s nice to have won our own tournament finally last year,” said Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “We’ve not made it easy on ourselves with how we built the field. But we want to showcase the golf course and play a great event at home. We brought the best teams we could, and family and friends and the wonderful supporters we have can watch us play.”
In its second year as a fall event, the USCC’s 14-team field includes 10 teams ranked among the nation’s top 30 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, including No. 4 Auburn, No. 8 Florida State, No. 10 Washington, No. 11 Virginia, No. 14 Kent State, No. 16 Clemson, No. 25 Duke, No. 27 UCLA and No. 29 Iowa. Also playing this weekend are 2009 NCAA Champion Texas A&M (ranked 36th), No. 41 Wake Forest, No. 54 Southern California and East Tennessee State.
Heppler’s team comes in with momentum, having scored a 17-stroke victory two weeks ago at the Brickyard Collegiate in Macon against a field which included the Seminoles, Georgia and Augusta State.
“Our guys are excited about this event,” said Heppler. “This is a different team, but they found out what they’re capable of after we won the Brickyard. The golf course is in perfect shape, and it’s going to be a great contest.”
White wound up winning twice last year, adding the Puerto Rico Classic title to his resume while earning eight top-10 finishes. This fall, the senior from Acworth, Ga., has rallied from missing the Carpet Capital Collegiate to post a pair of top-20 finishes at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and the Brickyard Collegiate.
Tech has received its most consistent performances from freshman Anders Albertson, who is ranked 16th in the nation after third at the Carpet Capital Collegiate, 18th at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and second at the Brickyard.
They are joined in Tech’s travel squad for the USCC by sophomores Bo Andrews and Seth Reeves and senior Minghao Wang. Andrews, from Raleigh, N.C., has played in all three fall events, not finishing lower than 31st while tying for 9th at the Brickyard. Reeves, a lefthander from Duluth, Ga., tied for second at the Brickyard with Albertson and has shown flashes of brilliance (closing 65 at the Carpet Capital) along with some big struggles (two rounds in the 80s).
Wang, who has played 11 events in his career with two top-20 finishes, is making his fall debut.
Challenging White for the individual crown are 2011 U.S. Amateur runner-up Patrick Cantlay of UCLA, U.S. Amateur Public Links Champion Corbin Mills of Clemson, and Walker Cup players Blayne Barber of Auburn and Chris Williams of Washington. Cantlay and Mills will play in next year’s Masters Tournament.
Live scoring of the event is available at the Golfstatresults.com website, and a live webcast of the finishing round Tuesday is available on the USCC website beginning at 2 p.m.