Nov. 11, 2015
THE FLATS – Three highly-regarded junior golfers from the class of 2016 – Andy Ogletree, Anton Serafini and Tyler Strafaci – signed national letters-of-intent Wednesday to play at Georgia Tech, head coach Bruce Heppler announced.
Ogletree, from Little Rock, Miss., and Strafaci, from Davie, Fla., are both ranked among the top 25 nationally among junior players of all classes by the Junior Golf Scoreboard and the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, while Serafini, from Lake Mary, Fla., has been ranked among the top 50 during his junior career. Ogletree and Strafaci both advanced to match play at the USGA Junior Amateur Championship this summer. All three signees are members of state championship teams in their states, and all have won individual high school state titles.
“It’s an exciting class,” said Heppler. “The most exciting thing about it is what they’ll bring to this group that will be returning, and they’ll push everyone. And as everyone gets pushed, I think by the end of next year the five who are playing will be playing at a pretty high level. That’s what you have to have a nationally program.
“All three of these players will have a chance to compete, play right away and challenge the guys that are here. That’s the dimension of all three of these guys physically. They’re on the upper end of fundamentals and on the upper end physically with length off the tee and such. I think they’ll have a chance to move in and play the more difficult college golf courses.”
Heppler’s squad, which has won six of the last eight Atlantic Coast Conference championships and has reached NCAA Championship match play three of the last five years, has no seniors.
Andy Ogletree, Little Rock, Miss., Union High School
Ogletree is ranked No. 25 nationally and No. 11 in the class of 2016 by the Junior Golf Scoreboard. He is the top-ranked player in his class in the state of Mississippi and No. 2 overall. In 2015, Ogletree finished 23rd in the Western Junior, 24th in the Junior Players and 24th in the Foot Joy Junior, made it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and shot a 65 in a sectional qualifier to reach the U.S. Amateur.
Named to the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger all-state first team in 2015, Ogletree won medalist honors four straight years in the class AA state championship playing at Union High School.
Coach Heppler says – “Andy is the first guy we’ve ever tried to recruit from Mississippi, and we got him. He’s been committed for a long time. He’s a tremendous athlete. I’ve seen some video of some box jumps that he does. He played high school basketball for a while. He’s really, really strong and really, really long. I think he kind of came into his own this summer. He had a tremendous U.S. Junior Amateur and was in a position to possibly win that. He’s succeeded to the point that he can play all of the good junior events that he wants to and then some amateur stuff in the summer. He’s seen his game against the best players in the country, and he feels like he’s one of them. He certainly has a chance to have an immediate impact and challenge to play around here.”
Anton Serafini, Lake Mary, Fla., Lake Mary Prep
Ranked 12th among junior golfers in the state of Florida, Serafini posted nine top-10 finishes in junior tournaments over the last three years, including three top-5 finishes in the Florida Boys Junior Championship. He also tied for ninth place in stroke play and made the round of 16 in the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. He is ranked No. 147 nationally in the Junior Golf Scoreboard and No. 167 in the Golfweek/Sagarin junior ratings
Serafini led Lake Mary Prep to a pair of Florida state high school championships (2013, 2015) and was the individual runner-up in 2013. He won the 2015 district and regional champion and made the 2013 and 2014 all-Central Florida boys team.
Coach Heppler says – “I’m excited about Anton’s length and his physical skills. He played really well in the U.S. Junior a couple of years ago. He’s just finished a really nice high school season in Florida, which obviously has some great high school golf. He has tremendous upside. Once he’s around good players every day it will make a huge difference. He loves the game. Physically his game is very impressive. When it’s good, it’s really, really good. I think we’ve got to help him be a little more consistent, and I think he got a lot of that done this fall. I’m excited for him. There’s no reason that he won’t challenge to play from the get go.”
Tyler Strafaci, Davie, Fla., American Heritage School
An honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American in 2015, Strafaci is ranked 19th nationally and sixth in the class of 2016 in the Junior Golf Scoreboard. He is the top-rated class of 2016 player in the state of Florida and No. 3 overall. In 2015, he has logged a pair of victories, another top-5 finish, seven top-10s and 11 top-20s out of 14 junior events in 2015. Strafaci captured victories in sectional qualifying tournaments for the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur, and reached the round of 32 in match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Captain of his high school team, Strafaci led American Heritage to the 2012 and 2014 Florida state championship and runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2015. He won the individual state title in 2015.
Coach Heppler says – “Tyler has one of the better junior records in the history of the state of Florida. He’s won a lot of Florida junior events. He has a tremendous family tradition of great players. I remember when I first went and watched him play a practice round, and you could tell that he’d grown up around golf. He knew what to do and how to prepare. I think from an experience standpoint, the preparation, the background with his family and his fundamentals, I think he’s really prepared himself to play college golf right away. He’s gotten bigger and stronger. He just finished his high school career in Florida with an individual state championship. His team lost in a playoff.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 21st year under head coach Bruce Heppler. The Yellow Jackets have won 16 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 28 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up four times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GT_Golf). For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.