Schniederjans Victory Lifts Tech to Final Four in NCAA Golf
Tech sophomore wins deciding match on 19th hole as Jackets eliminate UNLV
May 31, 2013
Milton, Ga. - Ollie Schniederjans dropped in a three-foot putt on the first extra hole to defeat UNLV's Kevin Penner, winning the deciding match in Georgia Tech's 3-2 victory over the Rebels Friday in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship.
The Yellow Jackets, who had lost in the quarterfinals of their two previous NCAA Match Play appearances in 2010 and 2011, have advanced to face third-seeded Alabama at 10:45 a.m. Saturday in the second semifinal match at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course. The Crimson Tide routed 6th-seeded New Mexico, 4-1, in their quarterfinal match.
Top-seeded California, the nation's No. 1-ranked team, was tested severely by Arizona State in the first quarterfinal match Friday, but prevailed, 3-2. The Bears move on to face No. 5 seed Illinois, which got by fourth-seed Texas by the same score. Cal and the Illini will square off in the first semifinals match at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
"These guys are great," said Tech coach Bruce Heppler of his team's comeback Friday. "Last year they missed in Oklahoma, the finished sixth in the regional, and that was awful. They came back with focus and a commitment to do better and learn. They're a year older, and they got some stuff done here today."
Tech also got wins from its No. 2 player, Anders Albertson, who defeated Kurt Kitayama, 2 and 1, and its No. 3 player, Bo Andrews, who captured a 3 and 2 win over Nicholas Maruri. Freshman Shun Yat Hak lost to A.J. McInerney, 2-up, and Seth Reeves fell to Carl Jonson, 4 and 3.
Schniederjans, from Powder Springs, Ga., took 2-up leads in his match four times, but Penner dropped birdies at holes 13 and 17 (on a 40-foot putt) to square the match. After halving the 18th hole, the Tech sophomore hit a perfect drive on the first playoff hole (par 4 No. 1) and landed his approach three feet from the cup, while Penner missed the green. Schniederjans drilled the putt to send Tech on to the semifinals.
"I can't remember many times when I had to play under that kind of pressure," said Schniederjans. "I was super-calm, but I knew what I had to do. I just felt super-focused and calm now in that kind of situation. I make better swings under that kind of pressure. I don't know why, but it feels good. We both just played awesome, it was a really good match."
The Rebels drew first blood in the match when Jonson closed out Reeves on the 15th hole. Reeves had taken an early 2-up lead by making a hole-in-one on the par-3 3rd hole and making eagle at the par-5 4th, but could not sustain the momentum as Johnson played the 15 holes in 5-under-par.
Andrews finished next, winning 14, 15 and 16 in succession to finish off Maruri and tie the overall match, but UNLV pulled back ahead with McInerney's 2-up win over Hak.
Meanwhile, Albertson took the lead at the seventh hole when Kitayama bogeyed and held on to it, moving ahead three holes at the 10th. Kitayama closed to within a hole when he birdied 14, but Albertson restored the advantage by sinking a 40-foot birdie putt at the par-3 15th. The Tech sophomore halved 16 and 17 to clinch his match and tie the team score at 2-2, setting the stage for Schniederjans.
In the four years the NCAA has used the match play format to decide its men's Division I champion, Georgia Tech has qualified for match play two other times - in 2010 at the Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn., and in 2011 at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. The Yellow Jackets finished third and second, respectively, in the stroke play portion of those championships. Tech tied for 10th in 2009 at Inverness in Toledo, Ohio, and did not advance to the championship last year.
Each time previously in match play, the Yellow Jackets lost in the quarterfinals to eventual national champion Augusta State by the identical scores of 3-2.
2013 NCAA MEN'S DIVISION I MEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP Friday, May 31 - Quarterfinals Results