Alpharetta, Ga. - Senior Jacob Joiner fired a 2-under-par 70 to lead three Georgia Tech players under par, and the fourth-ranked Yellow Jackets posted a team total of 4-under-par 284 Friday to take seventh place after the opening round of the 12th annual Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate at the Golf Club of Georgia. Senior Chris Petefish, competing as an individual, fired a 6-under-par 66 Friday and grabbed a share of the individual lead.
TECH LINEUP – Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) overcame a roller-coaster front nine to birdie three of his last four holes and post his fourth subpar round in his last five. Sophomores Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) and Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) each shot 1-under-par 71, while sophomore Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) went 2-under over his last eight holes to finish with a 72.
Tech’s “B-team,” its three players competing as individuals, stole the show on Friday, however, combining to go 15-under-par with 20 birdies altogether. Petefish (Danville, Calif.) led the way with seven birdies and one bogey for his 66 and is tied for the lead individually. Michael Pisciotta (Alpharetta, Ga.), playing on his home course, shot a 67 (-5) with six birdies and an eagle on his card and is tied for fourth place, while Tyler Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) shot 68 (-4) with seven birdies and is tied for sixth.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Freshman Matthew Wolff fired a 66 to lead third-ranked (and 2013 champion) Oklahoma State’s first-round charge to an 11-under-par 277, opening a two-stroke lead on defending co-champion Texas, which posted a 9-under-par 279 behind senior Doug Ghim’s 66.
No. 11 (and 2015 champion) Wake Forest, No. 22 UCLA, No. 30 Duke and No. 39 UNLV all shot 6-under-par 282 and are tied for third place. Tech is alone in seventh at 4-under 284. No. 15 Stanford, No. 43 TCU and defending co-champion Virginia are tied for eighth place at 3-under 285, while No. 23 Florida State holds 11th alone after carding a 1-under 287.
No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 16 Clemson, the event’s first champion in 2006, are tied for 12th at even-par 288, followed by East Tennessee State at 293 and No. 5 Oklahoma in last place at 295.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Georgia Tech’s Petefish, Oklahoma State’s Wolff and Texas’ Ghim are tied for first at 66 (-6), one shot ahead of Tech’s Pisciotta and Duke’s Alex Smalley, each at 67 (-5). The Yellow Jackets’ Tyler Joiner is in a group of six players at 68 (-4) that includes 24th-ranked Hidetoshi Yoshihara and No. 47 Will Zalatoris of Wake Forest. A total of 37 players broke par Friday in a crystal clear day with ideal scoring conditions at the par-72 Lakeside Course at the Golf Club of Georgia.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “Not a bad round today, but it took a while to get going. The way the golf course sets up, you’ve got to get some of those early holes, because the front is historically easier to score than the back. We didn’t get much done on the par-5s, though we did get three at the last which helped. But they continued to play and get it back to where we’ve got a chance. The good thing about these guys is they can shoot the kind of numbers that the leaders shot today. Hopefully, we’ll settle in, get a good night’s sleep and start playing from the first hole tomorrow.
[On the play of Tech’s individual competitors] “I’m happy for Tyler today, who hadn’t played in a tournament this fall. Chris has been in and out of the lineup. It’s Michael’s senior year, playing at his home club in front of a lot of people. They played together, got in a rhythm and started feeding off each other. It was some of the best golf those guys had ever played.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, formerly called the United States Collegiate Championship, runs through Sunday at the Golf Club of Georgia, which serves at the Yellow Jackets’ home club. The tournament will be played exclusively on the 7,017-yard, par 72 Lakeside Course. Competition begins at 9 a.m. each day. Admission is free.
Virginia and Texas were co-champions of last year’s tournament and are back to defend their share title, while Virginia’s Jimmy Stanger and Oklahoma’s Max McGreevy tied for medalist honors. Neither of the medalists are back to defend their titles. The field is traditionally one of the strongest in college golf, and 13 of the 15 teams this year are in the current Golfstat top 50. Four of those are ranked among the top 10, with five others in the top 25. Six of the teams in the field have combined to win 10 tournaments this fall. Twenty-four of the nation’s top 100 players, as ranked by Golfstat, are in the field.
The field, in alphabetical order with current Golfstat ranking – Clemson (16), Duke (30), East Tennessee State (97), Florida State (23), Georgia Tech (4), Oklahoma (5), Oklahoma State (3), Stanford (15), Texas (31), Texas A&M (2), TCU (43), UCLA (22), UNLV (39), Virginia (84), Wake Forest (11).
TECH’S GOLF CLUB OF GEORGIA COLLEGIATE HISTORY – Georgia Tech has won the USCC twice in its 10-year history, in 2010 and 2012. Clemson and Texas are the only other multiple winners, with the Tigers having captured the inaugural title in 2006 and again in 2009, and the Longhorns winning on 2014 and sharing the title with Virginia last year. James White, who set tournament records for 18-hole score (62) and 54-hole score (204, broken in 2014), won medalist honors in 2010, while Ollie Schniederjans won it in 2013 for Tech’s only individual titles. The Yellow Jackets finished 12th out of 17 teams last fall.