Waimea, Hawai’i – Noah Norton and Connor Howe carded season-low rounds of 66 and 67 Thursday, and the No. 20 Yellow Jackets posted a 9-under-par final round of 279 to finish in a tie for third place at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate.
Conditions remained warm and windy, but more consistent Thursday on the 6,875-yard, par-72 Hapuna Golf Course, as Tech equalled its birdie total from the first round (24). The Jackets were not able to gain ground on the leader, No. 10 Arizona State, which shot 12-under-par 276 and won the tournament by 12 strokes over Southern California. Tech finished tied with Oregon State, 27 strokes off the pace.
TECH LINEUP – Norton, a senior from Chico, Calif., reeled off seven birdies against one bogey to post his best round of the season to date, a 6-under-par 66 that was his best since carding a 65 in the fall of 2018, his sophomore year. Howe, a junior from Ogden, Utah, also had seven birdies on his card against a double-bogey for a 5-under-par 67, his best since posting a 66 in the opening round of the 2019 NCAA Pullman Regional.
Howe finished tied for seventh place individually, the highest finish of his career, at 6-under-par 210, which matched his lowest career score in relation to par. Norton tied for 10th place, his ninth career top-10 finish and his best since a tie for ninth at the 2019 Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational.
Sophomore Luka Karaulic (Dacula, Ga.) shot 72 Thursday for the Yellow Jackets, while freshman Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa) and senior Will Dickson (Providence, R.I.) added a pair of 74s. Lamprecht closed the tournament solo 17th at 217 (+1), while Karaulic tied for 18th at 219 (+3), his best finish in three events this spring.
Sophomore Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) led Tech’s group of players competing as individuals Thursday, carding a 3-under-par 69 to earn a tie for 18th finish at 219 (+3). Sophomore Andy Mao (Johns Creek, Ga.) shot 72 Thursday, while junior Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.) shot 74. Both players tied for 32nd place at 227 (+11).
Tech’s Connor Howe was one of three players tied for seventh at 210 (-6), and Noah Norton tied for 10th with two others at 211 (-5).
Fifteen of the 51 players in the field finished 54 holes under par.
HEAD COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAID – “We were just a few shots away from having a great round, and the low round of the day, but lost a few on 18 again today. Noah and Connor played really well, which is important to our success. We’re getting better little by little and just need to keep working at it.”
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). Tech finished fifth last year in a 20-team field.