Scottsdale, Ariz. – Led by Ross Steelman’s 8-under-par 62, Georgia Tech’s golf team posted its lowest score in seven years, a 16-under-par 264, and grabbed a two-shot lead over Clemson after the opening round of the Maui Jim Intercollegiate.
With three players under par, the Yellow Jackets compiled their lowest team round since posting a 264 at the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational in 2014. That score was achieved on a par-72 golf course; Friday’s round was played on the par-70 Mirabel Golf Club. The 16-under-par was the Jackets’ best round in relation to par since the second round of the 2020 Puerto Rico Classic (20-under-par 268).
TECH LINEUP – Steelman, a transfer from Missouri, carded eight birdies in his bogey-free round of 62, becoming the seventh Yellow Jacket ever to shoot 62 or lower in competition (the Tech record is a 60 by Bryce Molder in 2000). It was the low round in the career of the junior from Columbia, Mo.
Steelman got plenty of help Monday, with sophomore Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa) carding a 5-under-par 65 with six birdies and senior Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.) delivering a 3-under-par 67 with four birdies and one bogey. Lamprecht is tied for sixth individually, and Smith is tied for 13th. Junior Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah)provided the Jackets’ fourth counting score with an even-par 70. Tech tossed out a 74 from freshman Benjamin Reuter (Naarden, The Netherlands).
Junior Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), competing as an individual, was a major bright spot after posting a career-low 64 (-6). He is tied for third place individually and gives the Jackets three players among the top 10 on the individual leaderboard. Sophomore Aidan Kramer (Oviedo, Fla.), also competing as an individual, shot 72.
Tech collected 26 birdies for the round, second most for the round behind the 30 recorded by Clemson. The Jackets played the par-3 holes in 4-under-par, the par-4s in 3-under-par, and the par-5s in 5-under-par.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – With three players under par and another at level par, Georgia Tech was two shots better Friday than Clemson, who had four players under par and posted a 14-under-par 266. Auburn posted a 9-under-par 271 for third place, followed by Louisville at 7-under-par 273.
San Diego State and Washington are tied for fifth place at 6-under 274, while Arizona (277, -3) and California (279, -1) are the only other teams under par among the 14 competing.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Steelman, a second-team All-Southeastern Conference performer last spring, has a one-stroke lead over Arizona State’s David Puig, a 2021 second-team All-American at Arizona State who shot 7=under-par 63.
Tech’s Forrester, Arizona’s Christian Banke and Clemson’s Kyle Cottam are tied for third place after firing 64s, and the Jackets’ Lamprecht holds sixth place alone with his 65.
HEAD COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAID – “Everybody was anxious and raring to go, and it was a good day for everybody. This group is going to have a chance to shoot some really low scores, and they can come from anywhere. Ross had a great round. He can hit the ball a long way, and he’s really talented. He hit it well today and made he putts he was supposed to. He was around the hole all day. Christo played a very good round, and Ben hit the ball well but couldn’t get some putts to fall.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets are competing in the Maui Jim Intercollegiate for the fourth time, having won the tournament in 2018 following finishes of sixth and second the two years prior. Georgia State hosts the 14-team event, which will be 54 holes beginning Friday and concluding Sunday. The tournament is being played at Mirabel Golf Club, a 7,081-yard, par-70 layout in Scottsdale, Ariz., in the same vicinity as Grayhawk Golf Club, site of the NCAA Championship last spring and in each of the next two years.
The tournament utilizes a split-tee format for all three rounds, continuing with round 2 at 11 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, and the final round 10 a.m. ET Sunday.
Participating teams include Georgia State, Arizona, Augusta, Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, Cal, Colorado State, Denver, Georgia Tech, Louisville, New Mexico, Oregon, San Diego State, Utah, and Washington. Four of the 16 teams competed in the NCAA Championship last year, while another eight competed in NCAA Regional play. Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are ranked in the Bushnell/Golfweek Preseason Coaches top 25.
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ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 27th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 65 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 29 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up four times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.