THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s No. 27-ranked golf team has earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, being given a No. 5 seed and a spot in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, which will be played May 17-19 at Seminole Legacy Golf Club in the capital city of Florida.
The NCAA announced on Wednesday afternoon all 81 teams and 45 individuals who will competing for spots in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship finals, and the fields for each of the six regional qualifying tournaments. The top five teams from each regional will advance to the finals, which will be conducted May 28-June 2 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Of the 81 teams, 30 were automatic qualifiers by winning their conference championships, and the other 51 earned at-large bids.
The Yellow Jackets are playing in an NCAA regional for the 23rd straight year and for the 30th time in the 32 years the NCAA has used a regional qualifying format for its championship. The NCAA Championship and regionals were not conducted last spring due to COVID-19.
The Tallahassee regional in which Tech will compete includes eight teams that are ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation according to Golfstat. In order of seed, the field includes Florida State (No. 2), Georgia (11), Liberty (16), LSU (23), Georgia Tech (27), Georgia Southern (32), TCU (43) and Indiana (46), as well as Kansas (56), Southern California (61), Ohio State (62), and automatic qualifiers Davidson (Atlantic 10 Conference), Florida A&M (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) and Long Island (Northeast Conference).
Tech is playing in an NCAA regional East of the Mississippi River for only the second time in the last six years, having been sent to San Diego, Calif. (2015), Tucson, Ariz. (2016), Stanford, Calif. (2017) and Pullman, Wash. (2019) around a 2018 trip to Raleigh, N.C. The Yellow Jackets advanced to the NCAA Championship in 2019, finishing fourth in the Pullman Regional and 18th in the NCAA Championship in Fayetteville, Ark.
Three ACC teams – Florida State (Tallahassee, Fla.), Clemson (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) and Wake Forest (Cle Elum Wash.) – earned No. 1 seeds at their regional sites.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech sits No. 27 nationally in the most recent Golfstat rankings and No. 26 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index. The Yellow Jackets tied for fifth place at the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference championship against a field that included four top-10 teams and 10 altogether that reside among Golfstat’s top 50 teams. Also this spring, the Jackets won the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate in February in California, and posted runner-up finishes at the Calusa Cup and Linger Longer Invitational.
Tech’s quintet to compete in the NCAA regional has quite a different look from the team that competed in 2019 and advanced to the NCAA Championship in Fayetteville, Ark. Gone are two U.S. Amateur champions in Andy Ogletree and Tyler Strafaci, as well as a future Georgia Amateur champion in Luke Schniederjans. Tech’s returning players had combined to play only 160 collegiate rounds of golf. Only senior Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.), a two-time All-ACC honoree, and junior Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah), return to compete during the 2021 postseason.
REGIONAL QUALIFIER FORMAT – Each regional is a 54-hole, stroke-play event with 13 teams and 10 individuals, or 14 teams and five individuals, competing. Tech is part of a regional field that includes 14 teams and five individuals. The top five teams after 54 holes and one individual not on those teams advance from each regional to the NCAA Championship finals, which has a field of 30 teams and six individuals.
The other five regional sites are: Albuquerque, N.M. (UNM Championship Course, host: New Mexico); Kingston Springs, Tenn. (Golf Club of Tennessee, host: Vanderbilt); Stillwater, Okla. (Karsten Creek Golf Club, host: Oklahoma State); Cle Elum, Wash. (Tumble Creek Golf Club, host: Washington); and Noblesville, Ind. (Sagamore Golf Club, host: Ball State).
COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAID – “We have to play well to advance no matter where we go, but the geography and the grasses and course conditions in the South aren’t foreign to us, so we’re excited to go down to Tallahassee and see what we can do. College golf is deeper than it has ever been, and you have to compete against a lot of great teams no matter where they send you. I do think that, after not having played any golf in the fall, adding some extra events in the spring has really helped us, and we’ve played well the last two events against some really strong competition.”
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ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 26th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 65 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 29 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 onTwitter (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.