Waimea, Hawai’i – Ross Steelman fired a closing 6-under-par 66 to earn a top-10 finish, while Georgia Tech posted a 10-under-par 278 Saturday to finish in seventh place at the Amer Ari Invitational.
In a 19-team field with nine teams among the nation’s top 25, the Jackets held their 36-hole position Saturday, but finished 22 strokes off the lead as No. 4 Oklahoma State shot 24-under par for the day and overtook Texas Tech for a one-shot victory over the Red Raiders.
TECH LINEUP – For the second straight day, Steelman started hot, getting three straight birdies among his first five holes, then adding four more to offset one bogey for his 66. His tournament of 69-69-66 gave him a 12-under-par total of 204 and a tie for eighth place individually, the third top-10 finish of the year for the junior from Columbia, Mo. He was second in the field in scoring on par-4 holes (-7).
Tech also got a 3-under-par 69 from senior Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah), a 1-under-par 71 from freshman Benjamin Reuter (Naarden, The Netherlands) and an even-par 72 from junior Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) as part of its team total. Sophomore Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa) did not count Saturday after carding a 73.
With three rounds under par (68-71-71), Reuter tied for 30th place at 6-under-pr 210, Lamprecht tied for 42nd at 212 (-4), Howe tied for 45th at 213 (-3) and Forrester tied for 55th at 214 (-2).
Senior Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.), competing as an individual, shot 80 Saturday and finished in a tie for 87th place at 222 (+6) in the 115-player field.
Tech finished the tournament with 64 birdies over three rounds, far behind the leaders. North Carolina led with 80.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Led by a 62 from medalist Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra, Oklahoma State had four players break 70 Saturday in posting a 24-under-par round of 264. That enabled the Cowboys to edge out 36-hole leader Texas Tech and win the tournament by one stroke with a 50-under-par total of 814. Oklahoma State’s 24-under-par round was better than nine teams in the field could manage for 54 holes.
The Red Raiders posted a 13-under-par score of 275 Saturday and finished the tournament at 49-under-par 815. No. 3 Arizona State took third place at 822 (-42), with No. 2 North Carolina fourth at 826 (-38) and No. 21 Washington in fifth at 828 (-36).
Defending NCAA champion Pepperdine (830, -34), No. 17 Georgia Tech (836, -28), UCLA (838, -26), No. 7 Stanford (839, -25) and No. 8 Texas (847, -17) rounded out the top 10.
Sixteen of the nineteen teams in the field finished under par for the tournament.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Oklahoma State’s Lopez-Chacarra put together rounds of 67-68-62 for a 54-hole total of 197 (-19) to win medalist honors by two shots over 36-hole leader Baard Skogen of Texas Tech (199, -17). Washington’s R.J. Manke and Arizona State’s Mason Anderson finished tied for third place at 16-under-par 200.
The Cowboys’ Rayhan Thomas finished alone in fifth place at 201 (-15), while Garrett Martin pf Texas Tech and David Ford of North Carolina tied for sixth at 202 (-14). Georgia Tech’s Steelman and Arizona State’s Preston Summerhays tied for eighth place at 204 (-12).
In all, 64 of the tournament’s 115 players are under par for 54 holes.
HEAD COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAID – “We just weren’t able to make enough birdies over the three days here. We’ll get back home and get to work on our scoring skills, got to get better on and around the greens. We have a good group here, and we can get better.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech has played in the Amer Ari Invitational every year since 1999. The 31st annual event, which runs Thursday through Saturday, is a traditional collegiate 54-hole, 5-count-4 stroke-play tournament. The event this year was contested on Hapuna Golf Course in Waimea (6,875 yards, par 72).
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 field included (with Golfstat ranking) No. 3 Arizona State, No. 18 Auburn, Colorado, No. 20 Georgia Tech, Hawai’i, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 4 Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pacific, No. 6 Pepperdine, San Jose State, No. 7 Stanford, No. 8 Texas, TCU, Texas Tech, UC Davis, UCLA, UH Hilo and No. 21 Washington.