THE FLATS - Georgia Tech’s golf team, with half of its roster coming off appearances in the 2017 U.S. Amateur, gets its fall schedule underway this weekend with the 29th Carpet Capital Collegiate at The Farm Golf Club in Rocky Face, Ga.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Carpet Capital Collegiate is being played Friday through Sunday at The Farm Golf Club, a 7,012-yard, par 72 layout designed by Tom Fazio near Dalton, Ga. The Yellow Jackets have been the institutional host of this event since its inception in 1989, winning seven times, most recently in 2013. Tech has finished fifth each of the last two years, placing behind Virginia, Auburn, Clemson and LSU last September, all of whom return to compete this weekend. The 14-team field for this year’s event includes pre-season top-20 teams Clemson and Virginia from the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Auburn, Alabama, Florida and LSU from the Southeastern Conference.
Tech is paired with Clemson and Auburn for the opening round, teeing off the first hole beginning at 8:45 a.m. Friday.
TECH’S CARPET CAPITAL COLLEGIATE HISTORY – Georgia Tech has won the Carpet Capital Collegiate seven times in its 28-year history, most recently in 2013, the most of any participant. Clemson has won four times, Alabama three. A Yellow Jacket has won medalist honors nine times, including each of the past four years (Luke Schniederjans last fall, Jacob Joiner in 2015, Ollie Schniederjans in 2013 and 2014). Current PGA Tour pros Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, Troy Matteson and Bryce Molder also have claimed victory at The Farm, with Molder taking the title three consecutive times between 1998 and 1999, when the event moved from the spring to the fall schedule.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech made the field for the NCAA regionals last spring but failed to advance to the NCAA Championship for only the fourth time, and finished the spring ranked No. 21 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. The Yellow Jackets are ranked No. 18 in the Golf Coaches Association of America’s pre-season poll, and No. 19 in a pre-season ranking compiled by Golfweek magazine’s Lance Ringler.
Head coach Bruce Heppler has eight players back who have received significant playing time, including three players who have won on the collegiate level and two more who have captured summer amateur events. Foremost in that group are a trio of sophomores in Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.), Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.), all of whom played in the U.S. Amateur last month. Schninederjans was the only one not to reach match play, but enters his second year with two collegiate victories under his belt. Strafaci, who won the Valspar Collegiate Invitational last year, advanced to match play at the U.S. Amateur, as did Ogletree, who finished 22nd or higher in seven of 10 collegiate events last year.
Other key returnees are a pair of seniors in James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) and Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.), who have combined for eight top-10 finishes in 57 career events. Petefish won two amateur events this spring and had five top-10 finishes altogether.
Heppler recruited a strong freshman class of three players, led by Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.), who advanced to the round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur and is ranked No. 2 among all junior amateur players in the United States according to the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
TECH LINEUP – The Yellow Jackets’ strong U.S. Amateur performance made some decisions easy for head coach Bruce Heppler in constructing his travel team for the Carpet Capital Collegiate. Norton, Ogletree and Strafaci were each exempt into the lineup this week after reach match play, and Schniederjans also is in the traveling five as the defending champion of this event.
That left one spot on the team to fill and one slot as an individual through qualifying. After two rounds each at the Golf Club of Georgia and East Lake Golf Club, the Yellow Jackets’ two home courses, and a playoff round at The Farm last Saturday, Petefish grabbed the fifth position, and senior Michael Pisciotta (Alpharetta, Ga.) will compete as an individual.
COACH BRUCE HEPPLER’S OUTLOOK (Audio)
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is entering its 23rd 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) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.