@GT_Golf Leaps to 3rd in NCAA Regional
Yellow Jackets 3 shots above the cutline at Rancho Sante Fe, Calif.
Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. - Georgia Tech fired a 5-under-par 283 Friday and advanced to third place after 36 holes of the NCAA San Diego Regional at The Farms Golf Club.
The 10th-ranked Yellow Jackets improved four positions with a 36-hole score of 582 (+6) and stand three shots above the fifth-place team heading into Saturday's final round. 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 - Tech got four scores of par or better on Friday, led by Ollie Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) with a 69, which moved him into a tie for 14th place individually at even-par 144. Freshman Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) added a 2-under-par 70 to his 72 from Thursday and is tied for seventh place at 142 (-2). Senior Anders Albertson (Woodstock, Ga.) and freshman James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) each carded 72s.
The Jackets, who started on the 10th hole Friday, played an exceptional second nine, posting eight birdies and four bogeys among its four counting players. Sophomore Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) did not count after shooting 73, but he birdied four holes on the second nine in an effort to improve Tech's score.
The Jackets followed their pattern of rebounding from first-round struggles with a solid or excellent second round, improving from 11-over 299 Thursday to a 5-under 283 Friday. Tech's season scoring averages in 11 events prior to this weekend have been 287.5 in the opening round, 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 - Top-seeded and 14th-ranked Arizona State also rallied Friday, posting a 7-under-par round of 281 and advancing seven spots into second place at 5-over-par 581 for 36 holes. The Yellow Jackets are one shot behind the Sun Devils. But 14th-ranked Oklahoma blitzed the 6,947-yard Farms Golf Club with a 13-under-par 275 Friday. The Sooners are at 17-under-par 559 for the tournament and 10 shots clear of second place.
East Tennessee State was 6-over-par Friday, dropping two positions to fourth place at 7-over-par 583, while Georgia (9-over-par 585) matched Arizona State's leap by moving up seven spots to fifth place after posting a 10-under-par round of 278.
Three other teams are within five strokes of the Bulldogs. Virginia (+11) holds sixth place, followed by Idaho (+12) and Wichita State (+14).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD - Arizona State's Jon Rahm, the nation's No. 2-ranked player, shot the tournament's best round to date with an 8-under-par 64 Friday, boosting him into the lead at 7-under-par 137, two shots ahead of Oklahoma's Michael Gellerman and Oklahoma, tied at 5-under-par 139. ETSU's Gudmundur Kristjansson is in fourth place at 4-under 140. Denny McCarthy of Virginia and Blake Morris of Mississippi are tied for fifth place at 3-under 141, while Tech's Petefish is in a group of four players at 142.
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.