Anders Albertson and Bo Andrews played all square with their opponents Saturday, but Georgia Tech was unable to carry the momentum of its thrilling quarterfinal victory over and fell, 3-0-2, to Alabama in the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship.
The Crimson Tide seized momentum early in Saturday’s match and never let go, winning the first three matches to be completed, one on the 15th hole, one on the 17th and one on the 18th. Albertson was on the first extra hole of his match with Alabama’s Bobby Wyatt, and Andrews was all square on the 18th hole against Scott Strohmeyer when the Jackets’ Seth Reeves bogeyed the 17th hole to end his match with Justin Thomas, falling 3 and 1.
In the anchor match, Alabama’s Cory Whitsett used a stellar short game to get ahead four holes early against Ollie Schniederjans, who won a thrilling 19-hole match Friday against UNLV. The Tech sophomore was unable to wrest away Whitsett’s momentum and lost 3 and 2. Tech freshman Shun Yat Hak went up two holes early in his match against Trey Mullinax but dropped six of seven holes in one stretch and was defeated, 4 and 3.
“Not the way we wanted to end our season, but our guys fought really hard,” said Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “From the time Bobby (Wyatt) and Cory (Whitsett) got to Tuscaloosa, that’s been one of the best teams in the country. It’s no shame to lose to them. They got all the way to the finals last year, and they know how it feels to win this, and they have another chance in the finals tomorrow. But our guys fought hard, and we’ve had a good week here, and we’ll see how hard they want to get back again.”
The Yellow Jackets thus concluded one of the most successful seasons in their golf history, recording a top-4 finish in the NCAA Championship for the eighth time and a top-8 finish for the 14th time. Tech won two tournaments during the year, had two players earn individual victories, and made its farthest advance in three NCAA match play appearances.
“Their hearts are broken, and they’ll react to that in their own way, but they’ll move forward and be fine,” Heppler added. “At the end of the week, there are only five guys and two coaches who are happy. You have to celebrate their success and all that they achieved and accomplished. We’ve done a lot of this for a lot of years, and we’ll just keep coming back.”