@GT_Golf Into Final Round at NCAA Championship
Whaley again leads 12th-ranked Jackets with 4-under 68 Sunday
Bradenton, Fla. - Sophomore Vincent Whaley shot a 4-under-par 68 Sunday, and 12th-ranked Georgia Tech put together its best round of the weekend (290, +2) and moved into the final round of stroke play at the NCAA Golf Championship at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
Play was suspended for the day at 6:28 p.m. because of lightning in the area, with nine teams still to complete their rounds early Monday morning. The fourth round is not expected to begin before 10 a.m. once those teams are finished and any ties are broken. Golf Channel will televise live beginning at 12:30 p.m.
Tech is tied for eighth place with UCLA at 14-over-par 878, 14 strokes above 15th place, currently shared by SMU and Washington, who completed their rounds and have 54-hole totals of 890 (+26). The nearest team below them still on the course is Oklahoma State, with a score of 32-over-par in 19th place.
TECH LINEUP - Georgia Tech began the day in seventh place, but just four strokes ahead of the cutline - the top 15 teams and the top nine individuals not on those teams compete in the final round Monday to determine the top eight teams for match play and the individual champion. A mid-round slump dropped the Jackets as low as 13th place at one point, but Ollie Schniederjans and Whaley put up five birdies on the second nine, and freshmen Chris Petefish and James Clark played mostly par golf coming home.
Whaley, a sophomore from McKinney, Texas, played an excellent ball-striking round and putted well, recording his second straight subpar round with five birdies on his front side (Tech began on the 10th hole) and playing the incoming nine even. Schniederjans, the two-time ACC Player of the Year from Powder Springs, Ga., made good on his post-round promise from Saturday to play more aggressively to accessible pin locations, making five birdies altogether in his round of 70 (-2), including pitching in from a bunker on the final hole.
Freshmen Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) and James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) shot 73 and 79 for Tech's other two counting scores. Petefish was solid with three birdies and four bogeys, while Clark steadied himself after a rough front nine to play 1-over on his final six holes.
The Jackets continue to pace the field in birdies (57 through 54 holes, Texas second with 50), is second to Southern California in par-5 scoring (-18), and fourth in par-3 scoring (+7). Tech counted only two holes of double-bogey or higher Sunday (13 for the tournament).
Whaley is 9-under-par on the par 5 holes and has 15 birdies over three rounds, both of which lead the championship.
TEAM LEADERBOARD - Georgia continued its solid play dating back to the final two rounds of the San Diego Regional (in which Tech also played) and was 4-under-par Sunday when play was stopped. The Bulldogs are in first place at 1-over-par cumulatively, three shots ahead of Southern Cal (+4) and Illinois (+7). None of the players from those teams were able to complete their rounds Sunday.
LSU finished its round and is tied for fourth with Illinois at 7-over-par 871, and Vanderbilt (872, +8) used a 1-under-par round of 287 to move into fifth place. Texas (+12) jumped eight spots and held sixth place, but had yet to complete its round when play was suspended.
South Florida (+13), UCLA and Georgia Tech (+14) and TCU (+16) finished their rounds and occupy seventh through 11th places. Florida State (+19), still on the course, was in 11th place. San Diego State and South Carolina, both finished with 54 holes, were tied at 23-over-par with Auburn, whose round is incomplete.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD - Bryson Dechambeau of SMU shot even-par Sunday and held onto the individual lead at 7-under-par 209, with Paul Dunne of UAB a stroke behind at 6-under 210, and Claudio Correa of South Florida in the clubhouse at 4-under 212. Both players shot 69 Sunday.
Illinois' Thomas Detry and Georgia's Zach Healy also stand at 4-under-par, but each has four holes left to play Monday morning. LSU's Zach Wright is in sixth place at 3-under 213.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS - "Kind of the same story again today. We got off to an incredibly fast start, and then it just disappeared. Then they hang in there again. Good stuff comes from different places. Hats' off to Vince again, that was a heck of a round he played. Petefish hung in there after getting is nose bloodied on 11. Ollie played better. James Clark played his last seven hoes 1-over. I couldn't be more happy with what we've done. Everybody contributes, and everybody helps."
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION - The 2015 NCAA Championship is being played at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., which measures 7,483 yards and plays to a par of 72. This is the seventh year the NCAA has used the stroke play-to-match play format, in which the top eight teams after stroke play are seeded for team match play to decide the team champion.
Monday features a final 18 holes of stroke play to determine the eight teams that will advance to match play, as well as the 72-hole individual champion. The team national champion will be determined in a team match-play format that consists of quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Tuesday (June 2), followed by the championship match on Wednesday (June 3).
TOURNAMENT FIELD - The Yellow Jackets are in the championship for the 27th time since 1985, which is tied for fourth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (30), Florida (29) and Arizona State (28). All three of those teams are in this year's field. Of the 30 teams in the field, all are ranked among Golfstat's top 50 teams, with the lowest ranked team being No. 47 Charlotte, champion of the Chapel Hill Regional. Top-ranked Florida State is the top seed, followed by No. 2 Texas and No. 3 Arizona State. Illinois, Vanderbilt and South Carolina are the next three seeds. All of the Golfstat top 17 teams are in the field.
TECH'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY - Georgia Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals for the 27th time since 1985 (28th time in program history), and has posted nine top-8 finishes in the last 13 tries.
The Yellow Jackets tied for 10th in 2009, the first-year of the stroke-play/match-play format, but qualified for match play each of the last four times they have advanced to the NCAA Championship (third in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014). Tech did not advance out of its regional in 2012. Tech has lost to the eventual champion three times - Augusta State by the score of 3-2 in the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011 and to Alabama (3-0-2) in 2013.
Tech finished as the runner-up in the NCAA Championship four times (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005) in the previous 72-hole stroke-play format, more than any team in the history of the championship except Houston, Michigan, Texas and Wake Forest, who also have four, and Oklahoma State, which has five.
REMAINING CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
June 1 - Final round of stroke play with top 15 teams and nine individuals, 10 a.m. approx.. (Golf Channel, 12:30-5:30 p.m. ET)
June 2 - Match play quarterfinals and semifinals, 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 3-8 p.m. ET)
June 3 - Championship match, 2:10 p.m. (Golf Channel, 1-8 p.m. ET)
— Georgia Tech Golf (@GT_GOLF) May 31, 2015
— Georgia Tech Golf (@GT_GOLF) May 31, 2015