Myrtle Beach, S.C. – On Sunday, March 11th, Chris Petefish captured medalist honors after firing a 3-under-par 69, while Noah Norton and Andy Ogletree added 69s of their own, lifting eighth-ranked Georgia Tech to the victory at the General James Hackler Championship at The Dunes Beach and Golf Club.
Tech won its third tournament of the year and first of the spring, taking a two-stroke lead at the beginning of the round and building it to as many as six before No. 2-ranked Texas A&M rallied to within one on the back nine. But the Yellow Jackets pulled away when Ogletree and Petefish birdied the par-5 15th hole, and on the par-3 17th hole, Norton birdied and Ogletree fired a hole-in-one.
The Yellow Jackets posted a 7-under-par 281 for the round and finished the tournament at 16-under-par 848, the third-lowest team score recorded in the 17-year history of the event. It also was two shots clear of the Aggies, whose 6-under-282 round left them at 11-under-par 853 for the tournament. Virginia was the only other team to finish under par, posting the tournament’s best round of 278 on Sunday and finishing at 5-under-par 859. Kentucky finished fourth at 869 (+5), with No. 12 LSU in fifth at 870 (+6). Eight of the 15 teams in the field are ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation by Golfstat.
Coach Bruce Heppler said, “It wasn’t quite as windy today, still 10-11 miles per hour, but the hole locations were still tough. I think it was down to two shots when Andy got his hole in one. It was about a 190-yard shot, and it was a tough pin as well, so that was a big one. I don’t think he initially realized it went in, but the guys by the green were all hollering. Chris played really well coming in, very solid and never went backwards. Tyler hung in there very well and played solidly coming in, so everybody helped. We have a chance to win every time we play with this group. We hope we have a chance to win some more, and our guys need to feel like they can.”
Petefish, a senior from Danville, Calif., earned his first collegiate tournament victory with steady golf over the final 36 holes, posting a 69 to go with his 72-68 from Saturday, and finished the tournament at 7-under-par 209. He won by two shots over freshman teammate Noah Norton, who also shot 69 Sunday, and Andrew Orishak of Virginia, who closed with a 65. They finished at 5-under-par 211. Evan Quinn of Princeton, Dan Erickson of Texas A&M and Philip Barbaree of LSU tied for fourth at 4-under 212, while five golfers tied for seventh place at 3-under 213.
Senior Chris Petefish said, “It’s great to win the team and individual title. We played great golf this weekend. I was trying to be aggressive when I could, otherwise I tried to play 15-20 feet from the hole locations. My short wedges and my chipping were about as good as I could hope. I got it up and down pretty much every time. The scoring clubs were what made the difference today. I think I’ve matured a little mentally with the game plan on the course, stay level outward with my reactions on the course. That has really helped. Mentally I’m in a good spot.”
Petefish’s previous best finish was a tie for seventh at the 2016 ACC Championship and the Puerto Rico Championship two weeks ago, and he had logged five top-10 finishes in his previous 33 events. A winner of two amateur events last spring, Petefish bogeyed just two holes over his final 36 in securing this victory. Norton birdied four of his first five holes Sunday and surged into the lead temporarily, then overcame a double-bogey and three bogeys with three more birdies the rest of the way for his 69. Ogletree played the front nine in 2-under-par before getting a birdie, a bogey and his ace coming in. He tied for 15th place at 1-under-par 215. Luke Schniederjans, a shot off the lead entering the round, did not count for Tech Sunday with a 77, and slipped to a tie for 22nd place. Junior Tyler Joiner tied for 53rd at 225 (+9).
The General Hackler Championship, in its 17th year, is one of two new events on Georgia Tech’s spring schedule (the Irish Creek Invitational April 7-8 in Kannapolis, N.C., is the other). It is played at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club (7,233 yards, par 72) in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Eight of the 15 teams in the field are ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation by Golfstat, including No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 12 LSU. Coastal Carolina hosts the event, which also includes East Carolina, East Tennessee State, No. 32 Kent State, No. 38 Kentucky, Liberty, No. 31 NC State, No. 23 North Florida, Princeton, No. 26 South Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech.