Carefree, Ariz. – Georgia Tech posted a 7-under-par 281 Sunday, its best round of the weekend, but came up a stroke shy of its second victory of the fall to finish second, and Tyler Strafaci and Noah Norton posted top-10 finishes at second annual Maui Jim Invitational, which begins Friday at Desert Forest Golf Club.
TECH LINEUP – Sophomore Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) birdied four straight holes early in his round and shot 3-under-par 69Sunday, while Strafaci, a sophomore from Davie, Fla., and Norton, a freshman from Chico, Calif., each shot 2-under-par 70 for the Yellow Jackets. Sophomore Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) added an even-par 72 for Tech’s fourth counting score.
Strafaci finished alone in fourth place individually at 5-under-par 139, while Norton tied for eighth place at 2-under-par 142. Schniederjans tied for 16th at 217 (+1), his sixth career top-20 finish, while Ogletree tied for 33rd place at 223 (+7).
Senior Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.) shot 76 Sunday and tied for 53rd place at 229 (+13). Senior Jacob Joiner (Leesburg, Ga.), competing as an individual this weekend, shot a 70 Sunday and turned in a solid weekend, tying for 22nd place at 220 (+4).
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Arizona State, pre-season ranked No. 21, rode a 65 by Alex Del Rey Gonzalez and played the final three holes 7-under-par, posting an 11-under-par final round of 277 to outlast the Yellow Jackets. The Sun Devils, in third place to start the round, finished 54 holes at 7-under-par 857 and captured a one-shot win.
Tech, pre-season ranked No. 18, began the day tied for first place with Kent State (No 23), and moved ahead by three shots with a good front nine (-5), but watched its lead evaporate early in the back nine as Arizona State surged. The Yellow Jackets got six birdies on the final three holes but were unable to catch up with the Sun Devils in the end. The Jackets posted a 54-hole total of 858 (-6).
Kent State, which led by eight strokes after the opening round and shared the 36-hole lead with Tech, shot 282 (-6) Sunday but dropped back to third place with a 5-under-par total of 859. LSU, which also shot 282 Sunday, finished fourth at 2-under 862, the only other team to complete 54 holes under par.
The rest of the finishing order – Lipscomb (+6), Minnesota (+8), Kansas (+11), Georgia State (+26), Rice (+27), Gonzaga (+34), Augusta (+41), Nebraska (+53), Hawai’i (+93).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Gonzalez’ strong finishing round earned him a three-shot victory for the individual medal. The Sun Devil senior posted a 10-under-par score of 206, beating out the 36-hole leader Dawson Armstrong of Lipscomb (209, -7), who shot 71 Sunday. Kent State’s Gisli Sveinbergsson also shot 71 Sunday and finished third at 210 (-6).
Strafaci was fourth for the Yellow Jackets (211, -5), followed by Minnesota’s Angus Flanagan (212, -4) in fifth. Arizona State’s Mason Andersen and Minnesota’s Peter Jones tied for sixth at 213 (-3), while Norton and LSU’s Philip Barbaree tied for eighth at 214 (-2).
COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAYS – “This was a good weekend overall; we came into Arizona State’s backyard and almost beat them, and we did beat Kent State, which is a pre-season top 25 team. We had a lot of good finishes, and we played those final three holes very well. When you lose by a stroke, everyone can go back and look at decisions they made and understand that every hole is important. We can learn from that. I was encouraged with the play of Jacob Joiner as an individual. He tied for the most birdies over the three rounds on our team.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Maui Jim Invitational was played at Desert Forest Golf Club, a 7,203-yard, par 72 layout on Carefree, Ariz. It is the second year in which the event, hosted by Georgia State’s golf program, has been played. Mirabel Country Club, where the inaugural event was held last September, is being renovated, and the tournament is set to return there in 2018. The Yellow Jackets finished sixth out of 16 teams in last year’s event, led by Chris Petefish, who finished in a tie for ninth place.