THE FLATS – Having risen to No. 8 in the most recent coaches poll following its season-opening win at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate two weeks ago, Georgia Tech’s golf team travels to the Chicago area for the Windon Memorial Classic Monday and Tuesday in Glencoe, Ill.
Head coach Bruce Heppler’s 27th Tech team set a team and individual 54-hole scoring record in capturing the Maui Jim, posting team score of 796, 12 strokes better than the previous team record, to win the tournament by one stroke, and sophomore Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa), with a 54-hole score of 194 (-16) broke a 20-year-old scoring mark by All-American Bryce Molder. Tech beat out seven other teams that played in the 2021 NCAA Championship.
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets are competing in the Windon Memorial Classic for the first time. Northwestern University hosts the 14-team event, being held for the 24th time, at Lake Shore Golf Club (7,000 yards, par 71) on the banks of Lake Michigan. The teams will play 36 holes Monday and 18 holes Tuesday, utilizing a split-tee format and a shotgun start for each round.
Eight teams that competed in NCAA regionals last spring are in the field for the Windon, including Northwestern (host), Cal Poly, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kansas, Kent State, Marquette, Michigan State, North Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Florida, UC Davis and Washington.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech finished the 2020-21 season tying for 15th place at the NCAA Championship, completing a steady rise with a team that relied on several inexperienced players. The Yellow jackets also finished fifth in the ACC Championship, one stroke shy of advancing to match play, and finished third in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.
Tech returns four starters from that team, including senior Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.), juniors Connor Howe (Ogden, Utah) and Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) and sophomore Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa), and added well-traveled transfer from Missouri in Ross Steelman (Columbia, Mo.), a two-time collegiate winner who reached the quarterfinals of the 2021 U.S. Amateur.
Lamprecht and Steelman posted top-10 finishes, while Howe tied for 19th to lead the Yellow Jackets’ winning effort at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate. The win lifted the Jackets to No. 8 in the latest Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches poll, and stand No. 4 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index.
Depth comes from juniors Luka Karaulic (Dacula, Ga.) and Andy Mao (Johns Creek, Ga.), who played in eight events and combined for 24 rounds last spring, as well as sophomores Adam Bratton (Newburgh, Ind.), who played in one event last spring, and Aidan Kramer (Oviedo, Fla.). Talented freshman in Benjamin Reuter (Naarden, The Netherlands), who reached match play at the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur and is the 2021 Dutch National Champion, made the Jackets’ travel team for the Maui Jim.
TECH LINEUP – Tech’s five-man lineup for the Windon includes Lamprecht and Steelman, who earned spots with their top-10 finishes in Arizona. Howe, who easily won the team’s 54-hole qualifying last week, Forrester, who tied for sixth at the Maui Jim competing as an individual, and Smith round out the group. Mao earned a spot on the trip through qualifying and will compete as an individual.
Here’s a quick look at the Yellow Jackets competing this week…
Christo Lamprecht (Sophomore, George, South Africa) – Tallest player ever in Tech program at 6-foot-8 … Runner-up at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate with a program-record 54-hole score of 194 (-16) … Finished last spring as Tech’s highest ranked player at No. 78 (Golfstat) … Led team in stroke average (71.67) and posted four top-10 finishes last spring, including a T-5 at the NCAA Tallahassee regional and T-3 at Calusa Cup … Currently No. 108 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, No. 105 in the Scratch Players Amateur Ranking
Ross Steelman (Junior, Columbia, Mo.) – Tied for ninth place at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate … Second-team All-Southeastern Conference last spring, ranked No. 28 national ranking in Golfstat … Tied for third at the NCAA Noblesville Regional … Reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur last summer … T-3 at the Monroe Invitational, T-11 at the Northeast Amateur … Currently ranked No. 62 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, No. 37 in the Scratch Player Amateur Ranking
Ben Smith (Senior, Novi, Mich.) – Ranks No. 61 in the PGA Tour University ranking … T-8 at Monroe Invitational, T-10 at Northeast Amateur last summer … Tied for eighth at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, and tied for ninth at the Calusa Cup last spring … Shot 67-63 to open the Maui Jim Intercollegiate but finished with a 76 to tie for 31st
Connor Howe (Junior, Ogden, Utah) – Ranks No. 73 in the PGA Tour University ranking … Tied for 19th at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate … T-5 at the Southern Amateur, T-7 at the Monroe Invitational and T-11 at the Dogwood Invitational in the summer … Solo ninth place at the ACC Championship last spring
Bartley Forrester (Junior, Gainesville, Ga.) – Tied for sixth place at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate competing as an amateur, shot 63 in the final round … Made the travel team for the 2021 NCAA Championship … Qualified for the 2021 U.S. Amateur and posted a T-20 at the Monroe Invitational last summer … High finish last spring was T-18 at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate … Co-medalist the 2020 Puerto Rico Classic
Andy Mao (Junior, Johns Creek, Ga.) – Did not play at the Maui Jim … Has competed in five events in his collegiate career, tied for 18th place to help Tech win the 2019 Carpet Capital Collegiate … Tied for 20th at the Rice Planters Amateur and 29th at the Southeastern Amateur last summer