Raleigh, N.C. - For the second straight day, Georgia Tech struggled to gain momentum and find birdies on the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, posting a 2-under-par 282 for the day to slip out of contention at the NCAA Raleigh Regional, finishing sixth by one stroke to Arizona State, which got a birdie on the final hole to leapfrog the Yellow Jackets, who bogeyed the hole.
It was the second straight year that Tech lost a spot in the national finals by one stroke, and the third year in a row the Yellow Jackets have failed to advance from their regional. The top five finishers in Raleigh -- Texas, Duke, NC State, Augusta and Arizona State -- will join the 30-team field for the national championship May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
TECH LINEUP -- Amazingly enough, all five Yellow Jackets finished the tournament under par, the only team in the field of 14 to do so, but ultimately it was not good enough on a golf course on which 39 of the 65 players in the field broke par for the tournament and 22 players racked up 13 or more birdies over 54 holes. Only freshman Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.), who tied for 26th place individually, made that list with 16.
The Yellow Jackets managed only 16 birdies as a team on Tuesday, and their 2-under-par total bettered only three of the other teams in the field.
Tech's top finisher was Tyler Strafaci, who tied for 13th place at 5-under-par 208 after his even-par 71 on Tuesday. The Davie, Fla., sophomore suffered the ultimate heartbreak on the final hole when, with the Yellow Jackets clinging to fifth place by one stroke over Arizona State, he pushed his tee shot into the high rough to the right, then missed his putt for par while the Sun Devils' Chun An Yu placed his second shot about eight feet from the cup and made his birdie.
Chris Petefish, the Danville, Calif., senior, paced the Jackets with a 2-under-par 69, while Andy Ogletree (sophomore, Little Rock, Miss.) shot 1-under-par 70, and Norton and Luke Schniederjans (sophomore, Powder Springs, Ga.) each cards 1-over-par 72s.
Ogletree wound up in a tie for 16th place at 212 (-4), Norton and Petefish tied for 26th at 211 (-2), and Schniederjans tied for 32nd place at 212 (-1).
TEAM LEADERBOARD -- Texas, ranked 16th in the country and the No. 3 seed in this regional, ran roughshod over the Lonnie Poole course all three days, including a 15-under-par round of 269 Tuesday, and won the regional by 17 shots over fifth-seeded Duke. The Longhorns finished 54 holes with a 39-under-par total of 813. The Blue Devils shot 19-under-par over the final two rounds and finished at 830 (-22), while host NC State, the sixth seed, posted a 5-under-par round of 279 Tuesday and finished third at 831 (-21).
Augusta, the 12th seed in the regional, matched Texas at 15-under-par Tuesday, rallying from eighth place to finish fourth at 832 (-20). No. 21 Arizona State, the fourth seed in Raleigh, shot 275 (-9) Tuesday and grabbed the fifth qualifying spot with a total of 834 (-18).
Tech finished at 835 (-17), followed by Middle Tennessee State at 836 (-16). Liberty, which played itself into the top five at one point during the final round, tied Missouri for eighth place at 840 (-12).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD -- Texas All-American Doug Ghim led wire-to-wire to capture medalist honors at 17-under-par 196, carding rounds of 64-66-66. He won by three shots over Augusta's Broc Everett, who shot 67-66-66 to post a 14-under-par 199 total. NC State's Benjamin Shipp finished third at 12-under-par 201 after shooting 70 in the final round, while the Longhorns' Scottie Scheffler took fourth at 11-under 202 with rounds of 69-65-68.
Campbell's Pontus Nyholm won a three-way playoff over Middle Tennessee's Marcus Byrd and Missouri's Hayden Buckley on the third playoff hole (hole 9) to advance to the NCAA Championship in Stillwater as an individual competitor. They all tied for fifth place in regulation at 9-under-par 204.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS -- "It's all very disappointing. It was the same scenario as last year (at the Stanford Regional) when we were in it for five hours and four minutes and lost it on the last hole, and we lost it on the last hole again. But you go back and look at the week, and we just didn't play well enough. The regular season is the regular season, and when you come to these things, you've got to be ready to go, and our last two rounds were not good enough to advance. We had chances in the second and third rounds, but we just didn't get it done. So now the guys will go home and work over the summer, and we'll come back in August and see what we can make of ourselves."
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION -- A total of 81 teams and 45 individuals competed this week at the six sites for spots in the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship, which will be conducted May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
The other five regional tournaments were conducted in Bryan, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Kissimmee, Fla.; Norman, Okla.; and Stockton, Calif.
The Raleigh Regional included eight teams listed among the nation's top 50 of the Golfstat rankings, including (in order of seed) California (9), Texas (16), Arizona State (21), Duke (28), NC State (36), Liberty (40) and Missouri (45).
TECH'S NCAA REGIONAL HISTORY -- Georgia Tech has advanced through an NCAA regional 23 times in 28 tries, but four of those five misses have come since the NCAA went to a six-regional qualifying format in 2009. Head coach Bruce Heppler's teams have won five regional tournaments outright, most recently in 2014, and tied for one other. Tech is playing in Raleigh for the second time, having been the No. 1 seed in 2014 with a team led by four current Tour pros in Anders Albertson, Ollie Schniederjans, Seth Reeves and Richy Werenski. The Yellow Jackets won that regional by 17 strokes over Washington, one of seven tournament victories for Tech that year, and reached match play at the NCAA Championship in Hutchinson, Kan., for the fourth time in five years.