THE FLATS – With all five starters back from a team that finished 12th at last spring’s NCAA Championship, Georgia Tech’s golf team has been tabbed the No. 3-best team in the nation in a pre-season ranking by Golf Channel, and No. 4 by Golfweek magazine.
All five players who started for the Yellow Jackets in the postseason last spring and helped Tech win five tournaments – seniors Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) and Ross Steelman (Columbia, Mo.), junior Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa) and sophomore Benjamin Reuter (Naarden, The Netherlands) – return to compete in 2022-23. All but Reuter rank among the top 100 players in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, while Forrester, Howe and Lamprecht made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team.
The Yellow Jackets won the Maui Jim Intercollegiate and the Hamptons Intercollegiate in the fall, and added titles in the Watersound Invitational and The Calusa Cup in the spring before tying Oklahoma State for the NCAA regional title. At the ACC Championship, Tech finished second in stroke play and advanced to the championship match, where they fell to Wake Forest, 3-2. The final and deciding individual match went to the 21st hole, where Reuter lost to Alex Fitzpatrick.
The Tech quintet compiled 20 individual top-10 finishes between them, while Forrester, Lamprecht and Steelman each advanced to match play at the U.S. Amateur championship in August.
Golf Channel’s top 5 is North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Florida and Arizona State. Golfweek’s order is Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia Tech and Arizona State.
Golf Channel says about the Jackets: “Head coach Bruce Heppler has been doing this a long time, but he called last year’s Yellow Jackets the most enjoyable group he’s ever coached. That could change this season as all five starters (20 combined top-10s last season) are back and Georgia Tech is poised to better its T-12 finish from last spring’s NCAA Championship. Junior Christo Lamprecht, at 6-foot-8, is an imposing figure who combines power with one of the best short games in the country. Senior Ross Steelman is another All-American talent who has improved his wedge game tremendously since transferring from Missouri two summers ago. Fellow seniors Bartley Forrester and Connor Howe are also capable of leading the team on any given day, and sophomore Ben Reuter showed his moxie by giving Wake’s Alex Fitzpatrick everything he could handle in the deciding match at last year’s ACC Championship and then tying for fourth at regionals. There’s little room for another guy to break into the lineup, but pushing the top five will be senior Andy Mao and freshmen Hiroshi Tai and Aidan Tran. Tai is a 20-year-old from Singapore who arrives after completing his 22-month national military service. The knock on Georgia Tech has always been that it can’t win NCAA titles – it has zero national championships in 32 appearances since 1985. This season is as good a time as ever to end that title-less designation.”
Golfweek: “Georgia Tech had a loaded squad a few years ago that just never quite got it done. This season, coach Bruce Heppler brings back all five starters and with another shot at Grayhawk and the NCAA Championship upcoming, don’t be surprised to see the Yellow Jackets in match play next spring.”
Tech begins its 2022 fall season Friday with the Maui Jim Intercollegiate in Scottsdale, Ariz., looking to return to match play at the NCAA Championship for the fifth time, and first time since 2014. The 2023 NCAA Championship will be held at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale for the third straight year.
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ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team has completed 27 years 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, visitRamblinwreck.com.