Waikoloa, Hawai’i – Senior Jacob Joiner fired a 3-under-par 69 Saturday, but the rest of the third-ranked Yellow Jackets were unable to keep pace as Georgia Tech finished in a tie for fifth place at the Amer Ari Invitational.
TECH LINEUP – After going 20-under-par through 36 holes, the Yellow Jackets were unable to gain any traction Saturday on the Kings Course at the Waikoloa Beach Resort, staying around par collectively until the end of the round, where Tech posted three birdies to finish at 2-under-par 286 for the day. The Jackets finished the tournament with a 22-under-par total of 842.
Joiner, a senior from Leesburg, Ga., overcame a double-bogey at the par-4 12th hole to post five birdies and finish with a 69. He tied for 37th individually at 2-under-par 214. Tech counted a 1-under 71 from sophomore Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) and an even-par 72 from sophomore Like Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.), while sophomore Tyler Strafaci (Davie, Fla.) and freshman Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.) each shit 2-over-par 74.
Norton, who shot 69-67 the first two days, wound up being Tech’s highest finisher, a tie for 23rd with a 6-under-par total of 210. Schniederjans tied for 29th at 212 (-4), while Strafaci and Ogletree tied for 32nd at 213 (-3). Joiner tied for 37th at 214 (-2). Senior Chris Petefish (Danville, Calif.), competing as an individual, shot 77-67-72 for the weekend to tie for 47th place at even-par 216.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – No. 2 Oklahoma State, with four players breaking 70 for the second straight day, shot 18-under-par 270 Saturday for a 54-hole total of 817 (-47), winning the tournament by 17 strokes over No. 14 Texas Tech. The Red Raiders shot 10-under 278 Saturday and finished the tournament at 834 (-30). No. 19 Southern California finished third at 837 (-27), with No. 16 Texas fourth at 841 (-23). Both teams shot 9-under-par 279 Saturday.
Tech wound up in a three-way tie for fifth with No. 8 Auburn and TCU at 842 (-22). The Tigers shot 11-under 277 Saturday, while the Horned Frogs posted a 9-under-par 279. Oregon (846, -18), Arizona State (848, -16) and No. 10 Stanford (852, -12) rounded out the top 10 in the 18-team tournament.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Southern California’s Justin Suh, the nation’s top-ranked player, won the tournament, but Oklahoma State had three of the top five finishers in the individual face. Suh scored a 1-shot victory after firing a 4-under-par 68 Saturday, finishing the tournament at 13-under-par 203.
Cowboys teammates Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff tied for second at 12-under-par 204, with Hovland posting a 7-under-par 65 Saturday. The Trojans’ Kaito Onishi and Oklahoma State’s Hayden Wood tied for fourth place at 205 (-11), and three golfers tied for sixth at 10-under-par 206. A total of 46 golfers broke par for 54 holes.
COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAID – “We had another slow start today and weren’t able to recover like we did the first two days, so that was disappointing. The positive was we played in the final groups with the leaders, but we need to react better when things aren’t going well.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech made its 20th 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 27th annual event, which runs through Saturday, is a 54-hole 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 18-team field boasts four of the nation’s top 10 teams (No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 8 Auburn, No. 10 Stanford), seven of the top 25 (No. 14 Texas Tech, No. 16 Texas, No. 19 Southern California) and 10 of the nation’s top 50 in the current rankings. Two of those teams, No. 11 Texas and No. 22 Oregon, faced off in the NCAA Championship match last spring. Five of the top 10 individuals in the nation are on those teams.