@GT_Golf Set for NCAA Championship
12th-ranked Yellow Jackets paired with Oklahoma, Stanford
THE FLATS - Georgia Tech's 12th-ranked golf team, playing in its 28th NCAA Championship, is paired with Oklahoma and Stanford for the first two rounds of play in the finals, which begin Friday, May 29, at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
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.
This year, the finals schedule will consist of three days (54 holes) of stroke play on Friday through Sunday (May 29-31), after which the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team will be determined. That is followed by a final day of 18 holes of stroke play (Monday, June 1) 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. (Tech played in NCAA regionals in 2008 and 2012 but did not advance.)
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 lost to the eventual champion three times in its first three forays into match play - 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.
TEAM UPDATE - Georgia Tech advanced to the NCAA Championship by finishing third in last week's NCAA San Siego Regional, posting a 5-over-par score of 869 as the No. 3 seed. Third-seeded Oklahoma won the regional at 21-under-par, followed by top-seeded Arizona State at 1-under-par. Georgia and Virginia also qualified.
Georgia Tech slipped from 10th to 12th in this week's Golfstat ranking and remained No. 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings. The Yellow Jackets earned automatic qualification into the regional by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, their second consecutive victory this spring, coming against a field that included nine teams in the nation's top 50. Tech also won the 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 two wins, two runner-up finishes, one third-place finish, one fourth-place and one 10th-place showing. Seven of Tech's seven spring tournaments have featured at least eight teams which were ranked among the top 50 in the nation, against whom the Jackets have a 61-28-3 record this year. Tech's schedule is ranked the eighth-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 three ACC individual crowns and have nine career collegiate titles between them. Both were named to the All-ACC team this week, with Schniederjans earnined ACC Player of the Year honors for the second straight year.
Albertson has been particularly strong of late, with victories at the ACC Championship and Robert Kepler Intercollegiate in Tech's two events just prior to the San Diego Regional, where he tied for 14th. He has three other top-10 finishes and two 11th-place ties in his last eight events dating back to Tech's last fall event in Hawai'i. Albertson has matched or broken par in 19 of the 24 rounds and averaged 69.83 over that stretch. Schniederjans, a six-time winner in the last two years, rebounded from a poor finish at the Valspar Collegiate to tie for sixth place at the Mason Rudolph, tie for third at the Robert Kepler, one shot behind co-medalists and teammates Albertson and Vincent Whaley, finish fourth at the ACC Championship and tie for seventh at the San Diego Regional. Schniederjans remains Tech's scoring average leader for the year at an even 70.03.
Whaley (McKinney, Texas), who has played in eight 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 seventh on Tech's team with a 73.04 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. Petefish has been the most consistent of Tech's four-man rookie class, averaging 72.00 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, including a tie for 14th at the San Diego Regional. Clark also tied for ninth at the Seminole, with four other finishes between 23rd and 37th.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS - "If I had my choice of starting slowly and finishing well or the reverse, I'll take what we're doing right now. They're young, and this is all new to (Clark, Whaley and Petefish). With five or six holes to go, we weren't going to win the ACC. We played well down the stretch to win the ACC-SEC challenge in the fall. The regional finish was some of the most clutch stuff I've ever seen. The young guys are learning how to play when they're nervous.
May 28 - Practice round, 9 a.m.
May 29 - Opening round paired with Oklahoma and Stanford, 1:30 p.m.
May 30 - Second round paired with Oklahoma and Stanford, 8:10 a.m.
May 31 - Third round, pairings determined by 36-hole score, tee times begin at 7 a.m.
June 1 - Fourth round with top 15 teams and nine individuals, tee times begin at 11:30 a.m. (Golf Channel, 3-8 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)
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech's golf team is in its 20th year under head coach Bruce Heppler. The Yellow Jackets have won 16 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 28 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.