THE FLATS - Qualifying for the 118th U.S. Amateur, to take place Aug. 13-19 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif., is in full swing, and Georgia Tech already has its first two entrants in junior Tyler Strafaci and sophomore Noah Norton, and more Yellow Jackets are set to qualify during the month of July.
Norton advanced from a sectional qualifier Monday by firing rounds of 68-68 to finish second and capture one of three spots available at Green Valley Country Club in Fairfield, Calif. Strafaci is exempt into the 312-player field for the U.S. Amateur as one of 16 players who competed in last month's U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.
Six Yellow Jackets, fully half of the team's roster, made the U.S. Amateur last summer at Riviera Country Club, where Norton (Chico, Calif.) and Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) both advanced to match play. Strafaci reached the round of 32, and Norton made it to the round of 16. Junior Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.), who will attempt to qualify July 23-24 at the Brickyard Golf Club in Macon, Ga., also reached the match play portion of last year's championship.
Two Tech golf alumni who continue to be competitive in amateur golf -- Carlton Forrester, class of 2000 and uncle of incoming freshman Bartley Forrester, and Kris Mikkelsen, class of 2002 -- also are attempting to qualify for the U.S. Amateur, Forrester at Jennings Mill in Oconee, Ga., and Mikkelsen at the Brickyard. They are among nine current, former and future Yellow Jackets attempting to qualify in the month of July.
Upcoming U.S. Amateur Qualifying for Georgia Tech
Connor Howe -- July 16, Soldier Hollow Golf Course (Silver), Midway, Utah
Bartley Forrester -- July 16-17, Colleton River Club, Bluffton, S.C.
Carlton Forrester -- July 17-18, Jennings Mill Country Club, Oconee, Ga.
Luka Karaulic -- July 17-18, Jennings Mill Country Club, Oconee, Ga.
Ben Smith -- July 18, Walnut Creek Country Club, South Lyon, Mich.
James Clark -- July 18-19, King and Bear Golf Course, St. Augustine, Fla.
Kris Mikkelsen -- July 23-24, Brickyard Golf Club, Macon, Ga.
Andy Ogletree -- July 23-24, Brickyard Golf Club, Macon, Ga.
Luke Schniederjans -- July 23-24, Brickyard Golf Club, Macon, Ga.
SUMMER AMATEUR UPDATE
● Redshirt freshman Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.) made it all the way to the semifinals of the Michigan Amateur Championship in mid-June, falling 1-up to Anthony Sorentino. Smith finished third in the 36-hole stroke play qualifier, then defeated August Meekhof (4&3), Austin Dieters (2&1), Ryan Johnson (19 holes) and David Hall (5&4) before encountering Sorentino.
● Luke Schniederjans and Andy Ogletree tied for 11th and 21st, respectively, at the Northeast Amateur the same week. Schniederjans shot rounds of 69-70-68-66 to finish at 3-under-par, while Ogletree shook off an opening 75 to finish 65-69-68.
● Incoming freshman Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) tied for 46th place last week at the Sahalee Players Championship in Sammamish, Wash.
● Six Yellow Jackets -- incoming freshmen Howe and Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), redshirt freshman Smith and juniors Ogletree, Schniederjans and Strafaci -- are set to compete in the Players Amateur Championship, which begins Thursday at Berkeley Hall Golf Club in Bluffton, S.C.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech's golf team has completed 23 years under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 53 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 17 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 32 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 (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.