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Tech’s NCAA Run Ends with Loss to FSU

Carlsbad, Calif. – Georgia Tech got match victories from Bartley Forrester and Carson Kim Tuesday afternoon, but lost one match in extra holes and the other two at the 17th hole as the Yellow Jackets fell to Florida State, 3-2, in the semifinals of the NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship.

After reaching the semifinals of NCAA match play for the third time and second year in a row, Tech saw its 2023-24 season come to an end.

The afternoon match marked the return of ACC Player of the Year Christo Lamprecht to the lineup after missing the morning quarterfinal and the last 54 holes of stroke play with back spasms. He along with Forrester and Kim took early leads in their matches and held them well into the back nine, but it wasn’t enough.

“It looked good for a while,” said Heppler. “But I’ve been doing this long enough to know that sometimes it’s really hard to get the third point. They (the Seminoles) were a final four team last year and signed the ACC Freshman of the Year. Sometimes it’s not fun to play against your friends, and Trey Jones is a dear friend of mine. They earned it and they took out an incredible team (North Carolina) this morning. From that standpoint, we’ll be rooting for the conference tomorrow.”

Forrester, a senior from Gainesville, Ga., never trailed after the seventh hole of his match with Cole Anderson, moving ahead three holes at the 10th and again at 15 before finishing off the Seminole, 3&2, on the 16th. Likewise, Kim, a freshman from nearby Yorba Linda, took the lead over Gray Albright on the first hole, and after falling back to a tie twice, moved ahead for good with a birdie at the 9th. He stretched his lead to three holes at 15 and won the 16th with a birdie to take a 4&2 win.

Lamprecht looked as though he was on the way to securing Tech’s third point, leading FSU’s Luke Clanton by two after 14 holes. Clanton won the next three holes after Lamprecht made bogey at 14, then put his second shot in the water behind the green at 15, and his tee shot in the same pond fronting 16. Another bogey for Lamprecht at 17 gave the FSU player a 2&1 victory.

Kale Fontenot, playing the second match out for Tech, fell behind Tyler Weaver by three holes at the turn. But the freshman from Lafayette, La., battled back and forced extra holes with a birdie at the par-5 18th. At the 19th hole, however, he lipped out a short par putt that would have extended the match.

Hiroshi Tai, the NCAA medalist and a winner in his morning match against Illinois, fell behind by as many as five holes in the anchor match with Frederik Kjettrup. The sophomore from Singapore trimmed the deficit to two, but Kjettrup birdied the 17th to win the match, 3&1, and the clinching point.

 

Head coach Bruce Heppler talks after Tech's semifinal loss to FSU

“There were 300-something teams that started this season and advancing to the final four says a lot about our guys,” added Heppler. “If we keep the culture, the work and the belief going, we will try to be right back here again in the same situation next year.”

Florida State will face Auburn in the championship match Wednesday, both teams playing for their first national title.

NOTES – With its advancement to the semifinals, Tech will be in the field for the East Lake Cup for the second straight year next fall … Tech is now 4-6 all-time in six NCAA match play appearances, having advanced to the semifinals in three of the six … Bartley Forrester improved to 5-0 in NCAA match play, having won all three of his matches in the 2023 NCAA Championship … Tech is 1-2 all-time against the Seminoles in post-season match play, including a 1-1 mark in the ACC Championship.

Semifinal Match Photos by Tim Cowie

TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

Only Oklahoma State (9 times), Texas (7) and Vanderbilt (7) have advanced to NCAA match play more than the Yellow Jackets’ six appearances. Tech is one of only three teams to make the 54-hole cut in each of the last four NCAA Championships (North Carolina and Vanderbilt are the others), and last year advanced to match play where the Yellow Jackets defeated Pepperdine and North Carolina before losing to Florida in the championship match.

The Yellow Jackets finished third in stroke play in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014 and tied for fifth in 2023 before this year’s eighth-place finish.

Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals 32 times since 1985 (33 times in program history), which is the fifth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (37), Arizona State (35), Florida (35) and Texas (35).

Tech has been the runner-up in the NCAA Championship five times (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005 before the introduction of match play, and again in 2023). Only Oklahoma State, which has 18, and Texas (6) have more.

 


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF

Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 29th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, having won 72 tournaments in his tenure. Heppler is the 10th-longest-tenured head coach in Division I men’s golf. The Yellow Jackets have won 19 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 33 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up five times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

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