@GT_Golf Wins DICK'S Sporting Goods Challenge
Drew Czuchry's chip-in on 18 lifts Jackets to 1-shot win over Vanderbilt
The closing par for Czuchry finished off a final round 286 (+2) for the third-ranked Yellow Jackets and a 54-hole total of 848 (-4). Vanderbilt, ranked No. 6, shot 285 (+1) Saturday and finished the stroke-play portion of the tournament at 849 (-3). No. 11 Virginia was third at 853 (+1), followed by No. 7 South Carolina (859) and No. 9 Georgia (861).
All-American Ollie Schniederjans shot 4-under-par 67 Saturday, while senior Anders Albertson and freshman James Clark added a pair of 72s to go with Czuchry's 75, producing Georgia Tech's seventh tournament victory since September of 2013 and the 45th title for head coach Bruce Heppler.
"This was a really great day," said Heppler. The guys did a great job of playing all the way around. I was impressed with their composure and competitive nature. Everyone played a part in the win and should feel very good about what happened."
Czuchry, who had moved into contention with a 66 Saturday, struggled through his first 13 holes Saturday at the 7,184-yard, par-72 Golf Club of Tennessee. But the senior from Auburn, Ga., found himself in position to make a difference in the closing holes as the Yellow Jackets and Commodores battled back and forth throughout the day.
He parred 14, 15 and 16, then made birdie at the par-5 17th to lift Tech into a tie atop the leaderboard with the Commodores. At the par-4 18th, his drive plugged in a fairway bunker, forcing him to chip out onto the fairway. His third shot missed the green but came to rest a few yards off the green with the pin 15 feet from the edge nearest his ball. His playing partner, 36-hole leader Carson Jacobs, would finish off a 75 and was not going to count for the Commodores this day.
"There was a scoreboard there, and I knew where we stood. (Assistant) Coach (Brennan) Webb knew we were tied and this chip would be for the win," said Czuchry, who after his consultation with Webb pulled out his 60-degree wedge for the shot. "I had a good lie, and it was slightly downhill to the hole. I landed it just on the green and it rolled to the hole.
"That just teaches you to never give up. I didn't make great decisions today until the last few holes."
Despite the 75, Czuchry finished in a tie for ninth place at even-par 213, earning the first top-10 finish of his career. Schniederjans finished solo third at 5-under-par 208 after carding his second straight 67. He finished three strokes off the pace of Georgia's Lee McCoy, who at 8-under-par 205 earned a one-shot victory over South Carolina's Will Starke.
Albertson finished 13th at 214, while Clark tied for 23rd at 219 in his first collegiate event and Vincent Whaley tied for 29th at 221.
The Conference Challenge portion of the event will take place on Sunday, with teams from the ACC playing 18-hole matches against their similarly ranked opponent from the SEC. The conference that accumulates the most points on Sunday will be crowned the 2014 Collegiate Challenge Cup Champion.
DICK'S SPORTING GOODS COLLEGIATE CHALLENGE CUP
Golf Club of Tennessee, Kingston Springs, Tenn.
Final Stroke-Play Results
TEAM STANDINGS - Georgia Tech 848 (-4), Vanderbilt 849 (-3), Virginia 853 (+1), South Carolina 859 (+7), Georgia 861 (+9), Louisville 868 (+16), Clemson (871 (+19), Mississippi 876 (+24), NC State 882 (+30), Texas A&M 885 (+33), Duke 887 (+35), Missouri 891 (+39)
INDIVIDUAL LEADERS - Lee McCoy, Georgia, 205 (-8); Will Starke, South Carolina, 206 (-7); Ollie Schniederjans, Georgia Tech, 208 (-5); Matthew NeSmith, South Carolina, 209 (-4); Derek Bard, Virginia, 209 (-4); Carson Jacobs, Vanderbilt, 209 (-4); Robert Giebel, Louisville, 211 (-2); Hunter Stewart, Vanderbilt, 211 (-2); Theo Humphrey, Vanderbilt, 212 (-1); Drew Czuchry, Georgia Tech, 212 (-1); Denny McCarthy, Virginia, 213 (E); Cody Proveaux, Clemson, 213 (E)