Westlake Village, Calif. – In weather conditions that sent scores soaring across the board, Connor Howe and Luka Karaulic each shot 75 to lead No. 20 Georgia Tech Wednesday, and Will Dickson earned his second top-15 finish in a row as the Yellow Jackets finished seventh at the Southwestern Invitational.
On a cloudy day with temperatures in the low 50s, winds of 20 miles per hour and minimal rain at North Ranch Country Club, the Yellow Jackets posted a 17-over-par score of 305 Tuesday. Tech finished seventh in a field loaded with some of the nation’s top programs with a 38-over-par total of 902. The 11 of the 12 teams posted scores in double digits in relation to par Tuesday on the 6,992-yard, par-72 layout. The team that didn’t, San Diego State with a 5-over-par 293, rallied to win the team title.
TECH LINEUP – Karaulic, a sophomore from Dacula, Ga., and Howe, a junior from Ogden, Utah, both endured see-saw rounds with multiple birdies but also a couple of “other” scores. Each player had four birdies on his card en route to their team-low 75s, and tied for 34th place in the end with 12-over-par scores of 228.
Dickson, a senior from Providence, R.I., started his day double-bogey, birdie, double-bogey, birdie, double bogey, but settled down to add two more birdies and an eagle to finish with a 76 and tie for 11th place in the end at 4-over-par 220. In his first two events as a member of Tech’s travel team, he has posted the Jackets’ best finish.
Senior Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.) provided the Yellow Jackets’ fourth counting score with a 79 Tuesday, and tied for 59th place at 237 (+21). Freshman Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa), bidding for a top-20 finish in his collegiate debut after 36 holes, struggled to an 80 Tuesday and tied for 32nd place at 227 (+11).
Sophomore Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) also shot 79 Tuesday, and tied for 44th at 231 (+15) competing as an individual.
COACH HEPPLER SAID – “The day was a whole lot better than we expected, it was windy but the rain never came. We made the turn in 5-over which was phenomenal, and we had the back nine downwind, but we let it get away from us. Luka fought hard all three days, and I’m really pleased with what he’s doing. Will had a rough start, but he fought and went 1-under on the back. This was a strong field, the green complexes were severe and there were a lot of tough pin placements, so it hasn’t been easy. All in all, not a bad tournament.”
WHAT’S NEXT – Georgia Tech competes in its traditional spring opener, the Amer Ari Invitational on the Big Island of Hawai’i which starts next Tuesday. With another short turnaround, the Yellow Jackets will remain in Los Angeles, handle their clases remotely, and fly to Hawai’i Saturday. Junior Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.) and sophomore Andy Mao (Johns Creek, Ga.) will join the six already there.