@GT_GOLF Comes up Short at NCAA Regional
Yellow Jackets rally with 6-under-par round, but finish in a tie for 7th place in Arizona
Marana, Ariz. - Sophomore Jacob Joiner led three Georgia Tech players with subpar rounds Wednesday as the Yellow Jackets fired a 6-under-par 282, but Tech finished in a tie for seventh place and failed to advance out of the NCAA Tucson Regional at The Gallery at Dove Mountain.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Top-ranked Stanford (833, -31), No. 24 Oregon (847, -17), No. 37 UAB (857, -7), No. 13 California (862, -2) and No. 12 Wake Forest (863, -1) all advanced from the Tucson Regional. The Cardinal led wire-to-wire, posting a 13-under-par 275 Wednesday to finish 14 strokes ahead of No. 24 Oregon, which shot the day’s best round of 14-under 274.
Georgia Tech (867, +3) began the day in seventh place and five strokes behind fifth place Cal. Unlike the first two rounds, however, eight teams broke par Wednesday, making it difficult for Tech to make up ground. The Yellow Jackets got within one shot of fifth place on a couple of occasions during the round, but the Bears and the Demon Deacons matched Tech’s 6-under-par score ultimately and held their ground, leaving the Jackets four shots shy of the cut. UC Riverside finished sixth at 866 (+2), and North Florida tied Tech for seventh after beginning the round in fourth.
The remaining order of finish, ninth through 14th: Saint Mary’s (879, +15), North Texas (887, +23), Georgia State (891, +27), Louisiana Tech (897, +33), No. 25 North Carolina (917, +53) and Siena (951, +87).
TECH LINEUP – Tech began the round strong, with all five players making birdie on the 11th hole (the team’s second hole of the day) and made the turn at 6-under-par for the day, but leveled off after that, making five birdies and five bogeys on its incoming nine at the 7,258-yard, par-72 Gallery Golf Club.
Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) fired a 4-under-par 68, his second subpar round of the tournament, while junior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) added a 70, sophomore Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) a 71 and sophomore James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) a 73 for the Yellow Jackets.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Stanford’s Franklin Huang (204, -12) shot 68 Wednesday to hold onto first place and win medalist honors by two strokes over his teammate Maverick McNealy (206, -10), who closed with a 67. UC Riverside’s Matt Lutz shot 68 Wednesday and finished at 7-under 209 to finish third and advance to the NCAA finals as an individual. Lee Hodges of UAB, K.K. Limbhasut of California and Thomas Lim of Oregon tied for fourth at 210 (-6).
Sixteen players completed 54 holes under par. Joiner, Petefish and Whaley each finished the tournament at even-par 216 in a five-way tie for 17th place.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We could’ve rolled over after the first day, but I’m really happy with the way we competed the last two days and gave ourselves a chance today. Hopefully we’ve progressed with this group and given ourselves something to build upon for next year.”
REGIONAL INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets played in an NCAA regional for the 19th straight year and for the 26th time in the 28 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship. They were part of a regional field that includes 14 teams and five individuals. The top five finishers at each of the six regional sites, all of which take place this week, advance to the NCAA Championship, which will be contested May 27-June 1 at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
TECH NCAA REGIONAL HISTORY – Georgia Tech has advanced through an NCAA regional 23 times in 26 tries, missing twice since the NCAA went to a six-regional qualifying format in 2009. Since the NCAA went to six regional sites in 2009, Tech has finished third (Bowling Green, Ky.), third (Atlanta), tied for third (Radford, Va.), sixth/did not advance (Norman, Okla.), fourth (Tallahassee, Fla.), first (Raleigh, N.C.), third (San Diego) and tied for seventh/did not advance (Tucson, Ariz.).