Georgia Tech golfer Luke Schniederjans had five birdies and two eagles in the final round of the 2017 Dogwood Invitational at Druid Hills GC – all in a 10-hole stretch – but it wasn’t quite enough to produce a victory.
Schniederjans began the final round of the Dogwood one shot off the lead in a three-way tie for fourth and shot 6-under 66. But Lloyd Jefferson Go, one of three co-leaders after 54 holes, matched Schniederjans’ 66 on Saturday to pull out the win with a late birdie.
The two players battled for the lead in a back-and-forth final round, with a hole out for eagle by Jefferson Go and a two-shot swing on the 17th hole deciding the duel,
The final round began with 14 players within four strokes of the lead, with 2015 champion and 2016 runner-up Dawson Armstrong among the three co-leaders and defending champion Charles Huntzinger four shots back.
None of the primary contenders got off to fast starts the final day, with Go playing the first six holes in 2-over and Schniederjans 1-over after five. But the two players separated themselves from the field with torrid bursts in the middle of the round, and the back nine was a two-man battle, with Schniederjans playing two groups ahead of Jefferson Go.
Schniederjans took the lead when he went birdie-birdie-birdie at holes 6, 7 and 8, and threatened to pull away when he followed with an eagle at the short par-5 ninth.
But Jefferson Go stayed close with consecutive birdies at 7, 8 and 9 and made up three shots on Schniederjans on holes 10 and 11, when the rising Georgia Tech sophomore bogeyed the 10th and Jefferson Go holed out from the fairway on the par-4 11th for eagle.
The eagle at 11 gave Jefferson Go the outright lead for the first time in the final round, but Schniederjans went back ahead when he birdied the par-3 13th and followed with his second straight eagle on a par-5 at the 14th.
Schniederjans added another birdie at the par-4 16th, but Jefferson Go kept pace with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15.
The deciding hole turned out to be the par-3 17th. Schniederjans missed the green and made bogey, and Jefferson Go holed a birdie putt of about 15 feet. Schniederjans, who was 5-under on the first three par 5s at Druid Hills in the final round, needed a birdie on the 18th, but settled for par.
Jefferson Go, who had birdies on each of the first three par 5s in earlier in the round, only needed a par at the 18th for the win, and he got it to finish the tournament at 21-under par 267. Schniederjans was second at 268.
The victory was the most significant of Jefferson Go’s amateur career. Jefferson Go, a native of the Philippines, recently completed his college career at Seton Hall, winning the Big East title in 2016 and finishing second this past season. He enjoyed a nice run in 2016 amateur events in the South, placing fourth in the Southeastern Amateur at CC of Columbus, sixth in the Rice Planters and third in the Southern Amateur.
Jefferson Go came into the Dogwood off a tie for second in the Monroe Invitational, one of the top events on the Summer amateur schedule along with the Dogwood. He was two shots off the lead after an opening 67 and three in back of Armstrong after a second straight 67. A third 67 pulled Jefferson Go into a tie for the lead heading to the final round.
Schniederjans, who followed older brother Ollie from Harrison HS in Powder Springs to Georgia Tech, shot 67-68-67 the first three days to stay close to the lead after each round. He played the par 5s at Druid Hills in 5-under the final day after being just 4-under the first three rounds, Go was 13-under on the par 5s for the week.
The runner-up finish by Schniederjans, matched that of his brother, a rookie on the PGA Tour, in the 2013 Dogwood. Luke recently completed his freshman season at Georgia Tech that included two individual victories, one in his college debut in the Carpet Capital at The Farm in Rocky, an annual event hosted by the Yellow Jackets. He also won a tournament in Puerto Rico and was third in an event hosted by Florida State.
Three players tied for third at 272, including Armstrong, a member of the golf team at Lipscomb. He led by two after 36 holes at 131 after scores of 66-65, but shot 70-71 the final two rounds. Also tying for third was Georgia Southern golfer Steven Fisk of Stockbridge and incoming Mississippi State freshman Austin Fulton.
Fisk was outright third in the recent Southeaster Amateur at CC of Columbus with scores of 70-68-64-68—270, and shot 68-67-70-67—272 at Druid Hills. Fulton who shot 67-67-71 the first three days of the Dogwood, challenged for the lead with a 31 on the front nine capped by an eagle at the ninth, but settled for even par on the back nine and a 67.
Benjamin Shipp of Duluth, who plays his college golf at North Carolina State, closed with a 64, the low score of the final round, to tie for sixth at 273. Shipp was in contention after scores of 66-69 the first two days, but fell back after a third round 74.
Also tying for sixth at 273 was Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer and Gaston Bertinotti of Campbell. Nimmer led after an opening 65 and was tie for second at 133 after 36 holes before closing with 70s the final two days. Bertinotti was tied for the lead at 201 after 54 holes before a final round 72.
Duluth’s Huntzinger, who plays at Penn State, tied for ninth in his title defense at 274 with scores of 67-71-69-67. Also tying for ninth was Alpharetta’s Chandler Eaton, who plays at Duke, and Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree.
Gainesville’s Spencer Ralston, who started for the Georgia golf team this past season as a freshman, was one shot off the lead after 54 holes at 202 following a third round 66, but shot 76 the final day to tie for 17th at 278.