THE FLATS – Ollie Schniederjans backed up his 64 Saturday with a 4-under-par 68 Sunday to secure a 2-stroke win in the medal race, while Georgia Tech finished second by a shot to South Carolina in the team race at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in Rocky Face, Ga.
Schniederjans, the world’s No. 1-ranked amateur player, held off a challenge by Alabama’s Robby Shelton, the world’s No. 2-ranked amateur, by playing the final seven holes 5-under-par Sunday. It was the sixth career victory for the senior All-American from Powder Springs, Ga., tying him with Troy Matteson for the third most in Tech history, one behind Matt Kuchar and two shy of David Duval and Bryce Molder, who had eight each.
The reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year held the 36-hole lead after his stellar round Saturday and was 2-under-par for his round Sunday before he ran aground briefly, bogeying 8, 9 and 10 to fall off the lead. He finished 54 holes at 12-under-par 204, with Shelton posting a 10-under-par total of 206.
“I had a lot of adrenaline all day. It was very important for me to get off to a good start,” said Schniederjans, who bogeyed the final two holes in last year’s event to finish in a tie for medalist honors. “I played unbelievably well for the first seven holes but I was only 2-under. Then out of nowhere I got loose. I got off kilter with my swing for a few holes. But I made the eagle on 12, I almost birdied 14, then I got up and down from a tough spot on 16.
Meanwhile, Anders Albertson and Michael Hines each shot 2-under-par 70, and freshman Jacob Joiner fired a closing 72 to help the Yellow Jackets post an 8-under-par round of 280 and a 54-hole score of 849 (-15). After the dust settled on a day in which five teams shared the lead at the outset and six teams were within two shots of the lead at one point, Tech fell one stroke shy defending its 2013 title. South Carolina, coached by former Tech All-American Bill McDonald, got three sub-70 scores and had the days best round at 12-under-par 276, finishing at 16-under-par 848 for the tournament.
“I think we’ll remember some shots that got away from us after the rain delay Friday, but we were tied for the lead today when we started, and we were in the mix all day,” said head coach Bruce Heppler, beginning his 20th season at Tech. “Michael Hines had a good round today, and Jacob Joiner was even par, so we had a lot of good, positive stuff. It was good to see them fight all the way home and see that they can be part of a good team.”
Auburn and Kennesaw State tied for third at 12-under-par 852, followed by top-ranked Alabama; NCAA champions the past two years, at 11-under-par 853.
Albertson, a senior from Woodstock, Ga., finished 67-70 on the weekend and tied for 18th place at 2-under-par 214. Drew Czuchry, a senior from Auburn, Ga., shot 75 Sunday but tied for 32nd (218, +2), his best career finish in his first tournament for Tech in two years. Hines tied for 46th (221, +5), and Joiner tied for 53rd (224, +8). Sophomore Vincent Whaley, competing as an individual, tied for 23rd and finished even par (216) for 54 holes.
Tech returns to action Sept. 19-21 with the DICK’S Sporting Goods Challenge in Kingston Springs, Tenn.