@GT_Golf Tied for 7th in NCAA Regional
Yellow Jackets two shots out of fifth place at Rancho Sante Fe, Calif.
Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. - Georgia Tech shot an 11-over-par round of 299 Thursday and is tied for seventh place after the opening round of the NCAA San Diego Regional at The Farms Golf Club.
With 36 holes left to play Friday and Saturday, the Yellow Jackets are 15 shots out of the lead but only two away from fifth place. The top five finishers in the 13-team field after 54 holes will advance to the NCAA Championship finals beginning May 29 in Bradenton, Fla.
TECH LINEUP - The 10th-ranked Yellow Jackets finished their round strong, getting an eagle (Chris Petefish) and three birdies (Anders Albertson, James Clark and Ollie Schniederjans) on the 18th hole, while Albertson also birdied 17. The closing salvo helped Tech trim their distance from fifth place from more than 10 strokes at one point during the round down to two.
Petefish, a freshman from Danville, Calif., paced the Jackets with an even-par 72 that included the eagle at 18 and four birdies, and is tied for eighth place individually. Albertson and Schniederjans, Tech's two senior All-Americans, negotiated the 6,947-yard layout in 75 strokes, while Clark, a freshman, shot 77 for the Yellow Jackets' fourth counting score.
Tech has been notoriously slow-starting in most of its events this year, averaging 287.5 in the opening round of its 11 events and has shot its highest score of the tournament in that opening 18 holes. The Yellow Jackets have averaged 279.1 in the second round and 283.6 in the closing round. Tech's team scoring average per round overall this year has been 283.4.
TEAM LEADERBOARD - The top two seeds in the regional - third-ranked Arizona State (12-over 300 for ninth place) and Tech (11-over-par 299) - have some ground to make up over the next two days. No. 14 Oklahoma, the third seed, shot 4-under-par 284 and played five strokes better than the rest of the field.
East Tennessee State posted a 1-over-par 289 and is in second place, followed by Wichita State (292, +4) and St. Mary's of California (295, +7). Virginia and host San Diego are tied for fifth place at 297 (+9). Tech is tied with Eastern Kentucky in seventh place. Only eight strokes separate the eight teams between fourth and 11th place.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD - The Sooners have three golfers among the top seven individuals, including Grant Hirschman, who is tied at the top of the leaderboard with East Tennessee State's Gunmundur Kristjansson and Wichita State's Grant Bennett at 3-under-par 69. Oklahoma's Max McGreevy and ETSU's Adrian Meronk are a stroke back at 2-under 70, and the Sooners' Michael Gellerman is tied with Idaho's Daniel Sutton at 1-under 71. Petefish is in a five-way tie for eighth at 72.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS - "We made a few mistakes here and there, and the wind made things very challenging. But the way we played the last hole was important. We're looking forward to tomorrow, but the weather forecast looks challenging."
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION - The Yellow Jackets are part of a regional field that includes 13 teams and 10 individuals. Of the 81 teams, 31 were automatic qualifiers by winning their conference championships, and the other 50 earned at-large bids.
The San Diego Regional field has eight teams listed among the nation's top 50 of the Golfstat rankings, including, in order of seed, No. 3 Arizona State, No. 10 Georgia Tech (ACC champion), No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 22 New Mexico, No. 27 Virginia, No. 34 Georgia, No. 39 East Tennessee State (Southern Conference champion), and No. 47 Mississippi. The remaining teams are host San Diego, Idaho, St. Mary's, Wichita State (Missouri Valley Conference champion) and Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley Conference champion). The regional is being played at The Farms Golf Club, a par-72 layout measuring 6,947 yards.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY - The Yellow Jackets are playing in an NCAA regional for the 18th straight year and for the 25th time in the 27 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship. Georgia Tech has failed to advance through an NCAA regional only twice in 24 tries, and only once since the NCAA went to a six-regional qualifying format in 2009. Heppler's teams have won five regional tournaments outright and tied for one title, most recently in 2014.