Alpharetta, Ga. – Freshman Hiroshi Tai shot a 3-under-par 69 Sunday and held on to capture medalist honors at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational. Georgia Tech was unable to hold on to its 36-hole lead and came up short by one shot and finished runner-up behind Stanford in the team race.
Tai, who graduated from high school in Windermere, Fla., and served a two-year military stint in his native Singapore before enrolling at Tech last January, became the first Yellow Jacket freshman to win a college tournament since Luke Schniederjans won the Puerto Rico Classic on 2017. He carded rounds of 65-69-69 for a 54-hole total of 203 (-13) and a one-shot victory over Kelly Chinn of Duke.
Looking for their first victory of the fall season and first in their annual home event since 2012, the Yellow Jackets led by three strokes entering the final round. They maintained their lead through 11 holes on Sunday, but stumbled over the final seven holes, posting a 1-under-par round of 279.
Tech returns to action in early February with the Amer Ari Intercollegiate on the Big Island of Hawai’i.
TECH LINEUP – Tai looked as though he would easily win individual honors Sunday when he played his first 11 holes 5-under-par and got to 15-under-par for the tournament. But the freshman bogeyed three of his next five holes and fell into a tie for the lead before canning an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th. At the final hole, he faced an 8-foot birdie putt that would have given his team a share of the team title, but aggressively ran it past the hole. His comeback for par ensured his individual victory.
He was the only Yellow Jacket to post a subpar round on Sunday. Christo Lamprecht and Andy Mao each shot even-par 70, and Connor Howe’s 74 also counted toward the Jackets’ team total. Lamprecht, who won the Inverness Intercollegiate earlier this fall, finished in a tie for 10th place at 211 (-5), while Howe tied for 20th at 214 (-2).
Tech’s B team continued to impress Sunday, scoring a 4-under-par 284 for the second straight day to finish in fifth place at 13-under-par 851, ahead of No. 7 Virginia, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 12 Alabama and three other top-50 teams. Freshman Aidan Tran shot a 4-under 69 Sunday to lead that group, while Ross Steelman came in at 69 and tied for fifth overall at 8-under-par 208. Benjamin Reuter tied for 15th individually at 213 (-3), and Tran tied for 20th at 214 (-2).
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Stanford, the nation’s No. 5-ranked team, shot the best team score Sunday (8-under-par 280) to earn its first victory in 12 trips to the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate. The Cardinal, whose best previous finish was runner-up in 2009, closed with a 23-under-par total of 841, one stroke ahead of Tech and defending champion Pepperdine (842, -22). The 25th-ranked Waves posted a 5-under-par 283 in the final round.
No. 10 Tennessee, who played the final round with Tech and Pepperdine, shot a 4-over-par round of 292 Sunday and finished in fourth place at 850 (-14), one shot ahead of Georgia Tech’s B team (851, -13).
No. 7 Virginia and Washington tied for sixth at 854 (-10), followed by No. 6 Texas A&M (857, -7), No. 12 Alabama (860, -4) and Clemson (861, -3), the only other teams to finish the tournament under par.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Duke’s Kelly Chinn fired the day’s best round, a 6-under-par 66, and briefly held a share of the lead before Tai made his birdie at No. 17, and took second place with a 12-under-par total of 204.
Stanford’s Michael Thorbjornsen, the nation’s third-ranked player who shot 67 Sunday, and Pepperdine’s William Mouw, who shot 68, finished in a tie for third place at 205 (-11). Georgia Tech’s Ross Steelman, Texas A&M’s Vishnu Sadagopan and Tennessee freshman Caleb Surratt tied for fifth place at 208 (-8), while Pepperdine teammates Sam Choi and Derek Hitchner tied for seventh at 209 (-7).
Tech’s Christo Lamprecht, Virginia’s Pietro Bovari and Stanford’s Ethan Ng tied for 10th at 211 (-5).
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, formerly called the United States Collegiate Championship, is contested at the Yellow Jackets’ home club. The three-day 54-hole event is played exclusively on the 7,092-yard, par 72 Lakeside Course.
All 13 teams competing at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate played in NCAA regionals last spring, six advancing to the NCAA Championship, including 2021 national champion Pepperdine and perennial ACC powerhouses Clemson and Wake Forest, as well as traditionally-strong Western teams Southern California, Stanford, Texas A&M and UCLA. Seven teams are currently ranked among the top 25 in the Golfstat rankings – Alabama (12), Georgia Tech (13), Pepperdine (25), Stanford (5), Tennessee (10), Texas A&M (6) and Virginia (7). Among the individuals, the field includes 18 players ranking among the top 100 in the most recent Golfstat rankings.
TECH’S GOLF CLUB OF GEORGIA COLLEGIATE HISTORY – Georgia Tech has won the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate twice in the event’s 16-year history, in 2010 and 2012. James White, who set tournament records for 18-hole score (62) and 54-hole score (204, broken in 2014), won medalist honors in 2010, while Ollie Schniederjans won it in 2013 for Tech’s only individual titles.
Clemson, Oklahoma State, Southern California and Texas also have won twice. The Tigers captured the inaugural title in 2006 and again in 2009, the Longhorns won in 2014 and shared the title with Virginia in 2016, the Cowboys won in 2013 and 2017, and the Trojans in 2008 and 2019. The tournament was not played in the fall of 2020 due to COVID-19, and Pepperdine captured the title in 2021.
The Yellow Jackets tied for sixth place last fall in this event, and have finished out of the top five four times in 15 years.