May 1, 2014
By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word
Ollie Schniederjans is fresh off the biggest win of his college career, and it’s no time to rest on the laurels of his victory last weekend in the ACC Championship, but he’s … resting. A lot. To remain fresh.
Beyond the fact that this is finals week at Georgia Tech, the junior golfer is sticking religiously to his routine. After grinding in tournaments, he shuts his game down.
Usually, he’ll leave the sticks in the closet for three days coming off a tournament when there is not a tournament the following week. This week, he’s going club-free for five days. Golf will not re-enter his life until this weekend, although he does some golf-specific exercises in his down time.
“I haven’t touched a club since the [ACC[ tournament,” he said Thursday afternoon. “When we’re playing so many tournaments, you have to kind of recover, kind of like a pitcher who has thrown 100 pitches.”
Schniederjans knows a thing to two about pitching, as his brother, Ben, is a freshman hurler with the Yellow Jackets. Ollie will be at Russ Chandler Stadium today, in fact, watching his sibling and Tech take on Virginia Tech.
With three final exams sprinkled through the weekdays, including a Personal Selling exam today, he’s been somewhat busy with academics although he makes a point of staying on top of his schoolwork during the semester, “so you really don’t end up in a situation where you have to cram.”
While he said his regimen this week has included a lot of, “resting, laying down,” don’t think for a moment that one of the nation’s top collegiate golfers – Schniederjans has won or tied for a school-record five tournaments this school year – has been largely idle.
He is something of a fitness freak, frankly.
There is the weight lifting, the stretching, the busy body work, the chiropractic work that has been a weekly part of his life since he struggled with back and neck issues in high school.
The young man stays after it even when he’s not chasing after that white ball.
“I’m working out, trying to keep my body injury-free,” he said. “I’ll do stretching, running, I like to swim once or twice a week and do core work. Get adjustments from a trainer back home about 30 minutes from campus.
“I’ll do strength training twice a week. Most of my time will be on the core and posture, and more golf-specific exercise. Everybody’s body is different. I don’t need as much strength training as I do posture, and balance and core.”
Schniederjans’ teammates all take different approaches.
Senior Seth Reeves may be the fittest of the Jackets, and junior Anders Albertson probably spends the most time under the watchful eye of Tech trainer/strength and conditioning guru Steve Tamborra where others create their own regimens.
Whatever Ollie’s doing is working.
He was named ACC Golfer of the Month for April earlier this week after winning the conference title by five strokes over two other golfers, including Albertson. He also tied for honors at the Robert Kepler Invitational earlier in the month at Ohio State.
Oh, and the outing before that he tied for honors at the Valspar Invitational in Palm City, Fla.
He’s a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award, which goes to the nation’s top collegiate golfer, and he’s been named to the U.S. Palmer Cup squad, which will compete in England in late June.
That trip will afford Schniederjans an opportunity to qualify for the British Open, and he’s also going to try to qualify for the U.S. Open.
He’s putting together one of the greatest careers in Tech’s rich golf history, and he has a year to go.
His confidence serves him well.
His best round at the ACCs was the first, when weather conditions torpedoed so many other linksters. His 65 was eight shots better than any of his teammates as the wind and rain didn’t seem to bother him.
Head coach Bruce Heppler called it one of the greatest rounds, “I’ve ever seen, given the conditions.”
With that, the Jackets trailed Florida State by four strokes after the first day. They gradually came to own the tournament over last Saturday and Sunday in fine weather.
“It was really good,” Ollie said of that first round. “I hold myself to high standards. It was something I knew I was capable of; I didn’t feel like that was something I couldn’t do.
“I think most of the other players couldn’t handle [the conditions]. It was pretty much in my comfort zone.”
Even Ollie admits, however, that he’s put together a surpassing season – even with NCAA regionals and hopefully the nationals yet to come.
“Yeah, I would say I would not have tried to expect myself to win five times before postseason. If someone told me I’d win five times before postseason, and four would be really big, I would say I’m a shoe-in for Player Of the Year,” he said. “But there are a tremendous number of players with multiple wins.
“Patrick Rodgers, one of my very good friends, is having a record-breaking year at Stanford. I would say I was hopeful that I would be in race for Player of the Year, and I’ve exceeded my expectations.”
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