Feb. 25, 2014
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico – Richard Werenski fired a career-best and a course-record 62 Tuesday, leading a furious final-round charge for Georgia Tech that came up just short of top-ranked Alabama at the Puerto Rico Classic.
Tech, ranked third in the nation, shot 20-under-par 268 Thursday, which matches the fourth-best score in program history, and chopped a 10-stroke deficit at the start of the round down to four at the end of the final day at the Rio Mar Country Club’s River Course. The Crimson Tide, demonstrating why they are defending national champions, held off the oncoming Jackets with a 14-under-par round of 274.
Alabama completed 36 holes in 819 strokes, 45-under-par, while Tech finished at 41-under-par 823. Seniors Bo Andrews and Seth Reeves each fired a 4-under-par 68 Tuesday, while Anders Albertson and Ollie Schniederjans each added a 2-under 70 for the Yellow Jackets, whose 54-hole total is the third lowest score ever in program history. Four of the five Tech players finished in the top 20 individually.
“This was a very encouraging day for the entire team,” said Tech coach Bruce Heppler, whose team has won this event four times. “It’s one of the most enjoyable days competing we’ve had here in 19 years. I’m really proud of Richy for staying positive and having a great third day.”
No. 7 Georgia finished a distant third at 835 (-29), while Clemson (-17) was fourth, and No. 9 Virginia Tech (-9) was fifth. No. 10 Oklahoma, Purdue and Michigan also finished under par (-5) for the tournament, tying for sixth place. Five teams in the nation’s top 10 and another vive in the top 50 were among the 15 teams competing.
Werenski, a senior from South Hadley, Mass., eclipsed his previous best collegiate round, a 66 in the 2012 ACC Championship, by four shots. He birdied 10 holes and had no bogeys to wash away the struggle of his first two rounds (78-73) in the event, and wound up in a tie for 22nd place at 3-under-par 212. His 62 matched the second-best single round in Tech history, shot by Bryce Molder at the Jerry Pate National in 2000 and by James White at the 2010 United States Collegiate Championship. Molder also holds the Tech record of 60, accomplished in the same year.
Meanwhile, Andrews finished the event with an 11-under-par total of 205, in third place and just one shot behind co-medalists Miller Capps of Clemson and Robby Shelton of Alabama. Capps shot 67 Tuesday, while Shelton, the 36-hole leader, shot 73. The Tech senior from Raleigh, N.C., posted his best finish of 2013-14 and bogeyed only one hole in the entire tournament.
Albertson finished in a tie for sixth place at 9-under 207, his fourth top-10 finish this year, while Schniederjans tied for 10th at 7-under 209, posting his fifth top-10 finish.
Tech returns to action March 7-9 at the SHC Masters in Las Vegas, Nev.
PUERTO RICO CLASSIC
Rio Mar Country Club, River Course
Alabama 819 (-45), Georgia Tech 823, Georgia 835, Clemson 847, Virginia Tech 855, Oklahoma 859, Purdue 859, Michigan 859, Missouri 868, SMU 868, East Tennessee State 868, UNC Greensboro 868, Northwestern 875, North Carolina 890, NC state 897
Miller Capps, Clemson, 204 (-12); Robby Shelton, Alabama, 204; Bo Andrews, Georgia Tech, 205; Joey Garber, Georgia, 205; Adam Schenk, Purdue, 205; Anders Albertson, Georgia Tech, 207; Greyson Sigg, Georgia, 207; Trey Mullinax, Alabama, 208; Cory Whitsett, Alabama, 208; Ollie Schniederjans, Georgia Tech, 209; Bobby Wyatt, Alabama, 209