@GT_Golf Looks to Defend ACC Title
11th-ranked Yellow Jackets have won five of last six conference championships
THE FLATS - Georgia Tech's golf team looks to continue its recent successes in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship when the 11th-ranked Yellow Jackets tee it up Friday through Sunday at the 62nd annual ACC Championship at the Old North State Club in New London, N.C.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION - The ACC Championship is a 54-hole collegiate event, with the low four scores out of five counting toward the team score for each round. The 12 teams will play 18 holes Friday, Saturday and Sunday, first group off at 8:30 a.m. All teams will begin the first and second rounds on the first hole, but Sunday's round will be a split-tee start with the top six teams after 36 holes starting on No. 1. First-round pairings Friday are determined by Golfstat rankings, and Tech is paired with top-ranked Florida State and No. 19 North Carolina. The Old North State Club, home to the ACC Tournament every year since 2002, is a par-72 layout measuring 7,102 yards. Nine of the 12 ACC teams are listed in the top 50 of this week's Golfstat rankings, including Virginia (23), Wake Forest (27), Clemson (36), Virginia Tech (38), Duke (45) and NC State (48).
ESPN3 will provide live streaming coverage of the closing holes from 3-5 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY - Georgia Tech got back on the winning track in 2014 with a six-stroke victory over Florida State at the 61st annual championship at the Old North State Club. It was Tech's fifth title in the last six years and seventh in the last nine
Ollie Schniederjans won medalist honors with a 12-under-par total of 204, five strokes better than Virginia's Denny McCarthy and teammate Anders Albertson. That came one year after Albertson won with a tournament-record score of 201 (-15), breaking the previous mark of 202 set by Wake Forest's Webb Simpson in 2008.
Schniederjans became Tech's ninth ACC individual champion, joining Bob McDonnell (1985), David Duval (1991, 1993), Mikko Rantanen (1994), Bryce Molder (2000), Cameron Tringale (2006), Chesson Hadley (2010), Paul Haley (2011) and Albertson (2013).
Tech's 15 ACC men's golf titles in history ranks second among conference schools behind Wake Forest (18). Tech has won 10 of its conference titles under current head coach Bruce Heppler, eight of those outright (1999, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014) and two shared (2006, 2007). The Yellow Jackets won five championships (1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994) under previous head coach Puggy Blackmon.
Nine of Tech's ACC titles have occurred at the Old North State Club, the first occurring in 1999 by 10 strokes over North Carolina and Duke. Tech won the 2011 crown with a tournament record score of 831 (-33) and by a record 20 strokes. Tech shared the 2006 title with North Carolina, and the 2007 crown with Virginia Tech.
TEAM UPDATE - Georgia Tech has moved up to 11th in this week's Golfstat ranking and No. 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings. The Yellow Jackets won last week's Robert Kepler Intercollegiate at Columbus, Ohio by 16 strokes over No. 28 SMU, and tied No. 25 Alabama for second place the week before at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Nashville, Tenn. This spring, Tech has one win, two runner-up finishes, one fourth-place and one 10th-place showing. All five spring tournaments before the Kepler featured at least eight teams which were ranked among the top 50 in the nation, against whom the Jackets have a 50-26-1 record this year. Tech's schedule is ranked the ninth-most difficult in the nation according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Index.
TECH LINEUP - Senior All-Americans Ollie Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Anders Albertson (Woodstock, Ga.) anchor the Tech travel squad for the ACC Championship. The four-year teammates won the last two ACC individual crowns and have eight career collegiate titles between them.
Albertson has been particularly strong of late, with four top-10 finishes and two 11th-place ties in his last six events dating back to Tech's last fall event in Hawai'i. Albertson has matched or broken par in 14 of the 18 rounds and averaged 69.67 over that stretch. Schniederjans, a six-time winner in the last two years, has rebounded from a poor finish at the Valspar Collegiate to tie for sixth place at the Mason Rudolph and tie for third at the Robert Kepler, one shot behind co-medalists and teammates Albertson and Vincent Whaley. Schniederjans remains Tech's scoring average leader for the year at an even 70.0.
Whaley (McKinney, Texas), who has played in seven events this year, earned a share of the victory at the Kepler with 5-under-par 208, one week after tying for 11th with scores of 69-73-73, both performances coming on difficult golf courses. He ranks fifth on Tech's team with a 72,57 stroke average.
Freshmen James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) and Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.), who each have one top-10 finish this year, round out the Tech lineup this weekend. Petefish has been the most consistent of Tech's four-man rookie class, averaging 71.95 to rank third on the team in stroke average. He tied for ninth at the Seminole Intercollegiate and has not finished lower than 29th in a tournament. Clark also tied for ninth at the Seminole, with four other finishes between 23rd and 37th.
COACH Bruce Heppler ON THE STRENGTH OF THE ACC - "The ACC is the strongest it's been in six or seven years. Obviously you have the nation's top-ranked team in Florida State, and some of the other teams have had some good years. We've had experience on our side the last couple of years, and now we're taking three guys who have never seen the place before. We'll try to get them up to speed in the practice round and see what happens. Once you have some success somewhere, it's pretty easy to talk the new guys into believing the same thing, and there's some momentum from that."
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech's golf team is in its 20th year under head coach Bruce Heppler. The Yellow Jackets have won 15 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 27 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up four times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GT_Golf). For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.