THE FLATS – Set to face one of the strongest college fields of the fall on a longtime PGA Tour venue, Georgia Tech’s No. 8-ranked golf team heads to Fort Worth, Texas Monday and Tuesday for the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational at Colonial Country Club.
Head coach Bruce Heppler’s 28th Tech team, which has all five starters back from a 2021-22 team that finished 12th at the NCAA Championship, has played twice this fall season, finishing fourth at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate in Arizona and runner-up at the Inverness Intercollegiate in Toledo, Ohio. Junior Christo Lamprecht captured his first collegiate tournament victory at Inverness, winning the event by two strokes at 7-under-par 206.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets are competing in the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational for the first time. Hosted by TCU, the tournament consists of 36 holes on Monday beginning with a shotgun start at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday’s 18-hole round will begin at 8 a.m. off of holes No. 1 and No. 10.
Colonial Country Club, which measures 7,204 yards and plays to a par of 70, has hosted an annual PGA Tour event since 1946, the longest running non-major tour event to be held at the same venue. The club was started in 1936 and hosted the 1941 U.S. Open, the 1975 Tournament Players Championship and the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open. The course sits along the bank of the Trinity River and is located less than a mile from the campus of TCU.
The Ben Hogan event will include 14 teams that competed in the 2022 NCAA Championship, including all eight that advanced to match play. Thirteen of the 16 teams are currently ranked among the nation’s top 25 according to the Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches Poll of Sept. 30. The complete field (with current Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches ranking) –Vanderbilt (1), Oklahoma (2), Stanford (t3), Arizona State (6), Texas Tech (7), Georgia Tech (8), Florida (10), Oklahoma State (11), North Carolina (13), Georgia (17), Texas (19), Wake Forest (t21), Pepperdine (25), Oregon (29), Southern California and TCU.
TECH LINEUP – With all five starters back from a team that finished 12that the 2022 NCAA Championship, won five tournaments and earned a final top-10 national ranking, Georgia Tech entered the fall season ranked No. 3 by Golf Channel, No. 4 by Golfweek magazine and was No. 6 in the first in-season Bushnell Coaches Poll.
Heppler has assembled one of his deepest and most experienced teams, utilizing three seniors in Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) and Ross Steelman (Columbia, Mo.) along with Christo Lamprecht, a junior from George, South Africa. The quartet combined for 19 top-10 finishes a year ago, with Lamprecht and Steelman leading the way with six each. Forrester, who captured the team’s only individual title with a share of first place at The Calusa Cup, had four top-10 finishes and was low Yellow Jacket at the NCAA Championship (15thplace).
Qualifying for Tech’s first three events has been fierce, however, and has led to three very different starting lineups. Only Howe and Lamprecht have started all three events, and they are joined for the Ben Hogan event by Forrester and freshmen Hiroshi Tai (Singapore) and Aidan Tran (Fresno, Calif.).
Here’s a quick look at the Yellow Jackets competing this week, in order of their spot in the lineup …
Christo Lamprecht (Junior, George, South Africa) – Pre-season third-team All-American and returning All-ACC player … Earned his first collegiate victory last time out at the Inverness Intercollegiate (206, -7), winning by two strokes … Advanced to the second round of match play at the U.S. Amateur, tied for ninth at the European Amateur Championship, competed for South Africa at the World Amateur Team Championships and for the victorious International team at the Arnold Palmer Cup this summer … Ranked No. 39 in WAGR … Tied for 44th at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate (-1) and has a 68.33 stroke average.
Connor Howe (Senior, Ogden, Utah) – Sits No. 31 in the most recent PGA Tour University ranking and No. 59 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking … Finished third at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate and 14th at the Inverness Intercollegiate … Fifth-year senior taking advantage of his COVID year after finishing 2021-22 No. 85 in the Golfstat rankings … Has six top-10 finishes the last two years, posting a career-low 70.94 stroke average in 2021-22 … Current average is 69.00 over six rounds … Tied for 10th place at the Northeast Amateur and 18th at the Monroe Invitational last summer.
Bartley Forrester (Senior, Gainesville, Ga.) – No. 75 in the WAGR and No. 23 in the PGA Tour University rankings … Returning All-ACC player and honorable mention All-American who was No. 81 in the Golfstat rankings at the end of last spring … Tech’s top finisher at the NCAA Championship (15th) last spring, and posted four top-10 finishes, including a share of the title at The Calusa Cup … Won the Monroe Invitational this summer and tied for sixth at the Southern Amateur … Advanced to the second round of match play at the U.S. Amateur … Two career collegiate victories (2020 Puerto Rico Classic, 2022 Calusa Cup) … Did not play at Inverness after tying for 24th place at the Maui Jim.
Hiroshi Tai (Freshman, Singapore) – Playing his second event as a member of the starting lineup since winning the individual event contested at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate (-14) … Tied for 24th place at the Inverness Intercollegiate … Enrolled at Tech last January after serving a 22-month stint in the Singapore Navy … Graduated from Windermere (Fla.) Prep in November 2020 prior to his military service … Made the cut (T44) in the Asian Tour’s International Series event in Singapore in August, beating out former Tech star and 2019 U.S. Amateur champ Andy Ogletree … Represented Singapore and tied for 58th at the World Amateur Team Championship.
Aidan Tran (Freshman, Fresno, Calif.) – Made the starting lineup as a freshman for Tech’s first event of 2022-23 at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, tying for 24th place … Ranked No. 39 by the American Junior Golf Association at the time of his graduation last May, No. 35 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Boys Ranking … Advanced to match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur … Three wins and eight other top-10 finishes in junior events since 2018.
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 28th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 70 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 31 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up four times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking theirFacebook page, or following on Twitter (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.