Alpharetta, Ga. - All five Georgia Tech players shot subpar scores on Saturday, led by sophomores Luke Schniederjans and Tyler Strafaci each with 4-under-par 68s, as the fourth-ranked Yellow Jackets shot 11-under-par 277 and moved up to fourth place after 36 holes at the 12th annual Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate at the Golf Club of Georgia.
TECH LINEUP – The Yellow Jackets tossed out a 1-under-par 71 Saturday as Tech went from seventh place at the start to fourth place at the finish. Tech made most of its hay on the front nine, going 10-under-par, slipping slightly on the back side before three players birdied the finishing 18th hole.
Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) led the way, each recording five birdies and one bogey en route to their 68s. Senior Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.) added a 2-under-par 70 for the second straight day, while sophomore Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) and freshman Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.) each shot 71.
Strafaci is tied for 14th place at 5-under-par 139, while Schniederjans and Joiner are tied for 17th place at 4-under 212.
Tech’s three individuals did not fare as well as they did in Friday’s opening round, with Michael Pisciotta posting a 72, Chris Petefish a 75 and Tyler Joiner a 76. Pisciotta is tied for 14th place with Strafaci at 5-under-par 139.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Marco Steyn’s 7-under-par 65 led a Wake Forest team that blistered the par-72 Lakeside Course Saturday to the tune of 17-under-par 271, which matched the tournament record for one round set by Georgia Tech in 2010. The 11th-ranked Demon Deacons stand at 23-under-par 553 for 36 holes, five shots ahead of defending co-champion Texas, who shot 279 Saturday, and Duke, which posted a 276. The Longhorns and Blue Devils are tied for second place at 18-under-par 558.
The Yellow Jackets fired one of the best rounds of the day (11-under-par 277), yet made up no ground on the lead. Tech is alone in fourth place at 15-under-par 561, followed by No. 3 Oklahoma State (563, -13) and No. 22 UCLA (565, -11). Those three teams will play together in Sunday’s final round.
No. 15 Stanford, TCU and UNLV are tied for seventh place at 566 (-10).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Duke’s Alex Smalley led Duke’s charge Saturday with a 7-under-par 65 and took over the individual lead at 12-under-par 132, one stroke ahead of first-round co-leader Doug Ghim of Texas (133, -11), who shot 67 Saturday. Wake Forest’s Steyn is third at 10-under 134, followed by Duke’s Chandler Eaton and Clemson’s Kyle Cottam (each with 66 Saturday) at 9-under 13. Wake Forest’s Will Zalatoris is alone in sixth place at 8-under 136.
A total of 44 players are under par through 36 holes.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “Wake Forest started on the back and got a reasonably good start, then they turned into 1 and 2, 8 and 9, and scored very well. They played the back nine, their front nine today, better than we did. I think the front nine scores were probably the same. We still need to play the par 5s a little bit better. But we had a much better day overall. We still needed one more low round today. From where we are, we need to be better than were today, maybe 15 or 16 under par (to have a chance to win the tournament). Given who is here and the teams that are ahead of us, that’s probably what it will take.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, formerly called the United States Collegiate Championship, concludes Sunday at the Golf Club of Georgia, which serves as the Yellow Jackets’ home club. The tournament is played on the 7,017-yard, par 72 Lakeside Course.
Virginia and Texas were co-champions of last year’s tournament and are back to defend their share title. 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.