Waikoloa, Hawai’i – Luke Schniederjans fired a 3-under-par 69 Saturday, but third-ranked Georgia Tech failed to sustain its momentum of the first two rounds and faded to a fifth-place finish the Amer Ari Invitational at the Waikoloa Resort.
TECH LINEUP – Bidding to win this event for the sixth time and capture its fourth victory of 2019-20, Tech built a five-shot lead and was 33 strokes under par after 36 holes, but was unable to gain any traction in the final round, posting a 1-under-par score of 287. Meanwhile, the Jackets watched Texas, Arizona State, Oklahoma State and finally Pepperdine surge past.
Tech had three players among the top 10 individually through two rounds, but only U.S. Amateur champion Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) could break par Saturday, shooting 2-under-par 70 to finish in a tie for third place at 12-under-par 204. Senior Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.), the 36-hole leader, shot a 75 and dropped into a tie for sixth at 10-under-par 206. Junior Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.) added a 73 and finished tied for 21st at 6-under-par 210.
Schniederjans, a senior from Powder Springs, Ga., shot his best round of the tournament with his 69 to pace the Jackets, but finished in a tie for 79th place, while sophomore Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) shot 75 Saturday and tied for 70th at 218 (+2).
Redshirt freshman Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), competing as an individual, closed with a 73 Saturday and tied for 65th place at 217 (+1).
Tech returns to action Feb. 16-18 at the Puerto Rico Classic.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Led by William Mouw’s 64 Saturday, top-ranked Pepperdine managed six birdies and three eagles in its final three holes to overtake the field. The Waves shot a final-round 18-under-par 270 to finish at 39-under-par 825, two shots clear of No. 19 Texas, who carded a 9-under-par 279 Saturday and finished 54 holes at 827 (-37).
No. 10 Arizona State, with a 10-under-par round of 278 Saturday, wound up in third place at 828 (-36), while Oklahoma State posted a 17-under-par 271 to finish fourth at 929 (-35). Tech was fifth at 830 (-34), and No. 23 Auburn took sixth at 831 (-33).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Pepperdine’s William Mouw shot an 8-under-par 65 Friday and finished 54 holes tied with Arizona State’s Mason Anderson (65 Saturday) at 13-under-par 203. Mouw won medalist honors on the first hole of a playoff.
Ogletree tied for third place with Aman Gupta of Oklahoma State one shot back at 12-under-par 204. Pierceson Coody of Texas finished alone in fifth place at 205 (-11), with Strafaci in a four-way tie for sixth at 206 (-10).
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech made its 22nd appearance in the Amer Ari Invitational, which has been the traditional spring opener for the Yellow Jackets every year since 1999, with one exception. The 29th annual event is a 54-hole, 5-count-4 stroke-play tournament played at the 7,074-yard, par 72 Kings Course at the Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Kona Coast of Hawai’i.
The Yellow Jackets have won this event five times, all between 2000 and 2007, and six Yellow Jackets have won or shared the individual title, including Matt Kuchar (shared title in 2000 and 2001), Carlton Forrester (shared title in 2000), Bryce Molder (shared title in 2001), Troy Matteson (2003) and Cameron Tringale (2007).
The 20-team field, which gets stronger each year, boasted seven of the nation’s top 25 teams (No. 2 Texas Tech, No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 10 Arizona State, No. 21 Auburn, No. 22 Oregon State, No. 25 Texas), and two other top-50 teams in No. 27 Stanford and No. 43 Southern California. Six other top-100 teams – Colorado, Oklahoma State, Oregon, San Jose State, TCU and UC Davis also were in the field.