Scottsdale, Ariz. – Connor Howe shot a weekend-low 5-under-par 65, and Christo Lamprecht fired a 4-under 66 Sunday, enabling 17th-ranked Georgia Tech to fend off a back-nine rally by Clemson and capture a one-stroke victory over the Tigers at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate.
The Yellow Jackets led the tournament wire-to-wire and posted a 54-hole team score of 796, which bettered the team’s all-time scoring mark by 12 strokes. The previous low score was 808 at the 2005 Waikoloa Intercollegiate. In relation to par (-44), the Jackets set an all-time best for a par-70 golf course. In the end, Tech needed every shot to outlast a Tiger team that also set a program scoring mark (797, 43-under-par) by 14 strokes.
The tournament victory was the 66th for Tech under head coach Bruce Heppler in 26-plus seasons at the helm of the Jackets’ program, and it was Tech’s second win in four appearances at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate.
Sitting well ahead of the rest of the field after 36 holes, Georgia Tech led Clemson by four strokes entering the final round. The Yellow Jackets got to 10-under-par for the round at the turn and built a cushion, but the Tigers rallied to within two strokes coming to the final two holes. On 17, a par 5, each team collected three birdies and a par from their counting players, and on 18, the Tigers got a birdie and three pars while the Jackets posted four pars, leaving Tech in victory circle by one shot.
TECH LINEUP – Connor Howe, Ross Steelman and Benjamin Reuter carded the critical birdies for the Yellow Jackets on the 17th hole. Howe, a junior from Ogden, Utah, closed with his best round of the tournament, a 5-under-par 65, while Reuter, a freshman from Naarden, The Netherlands, posted his second straight 69, and Steelman, a junior from Columbia, Mo., shot even-par 70.
Christo Lamprecht, who held the 36-hole individual lead, birdied four of his first six holes Sunday, but parred out from there and finished as the runner-up, a career-high finish for the sophomore from George, South Africa. He posted a tournament total of 194, which broke Bryce Molder’s 54-hole scoring record at Tech by two. Molder twice shot 196, once on a par-72 course at the 2000 Jerry Pate National Collegiate, and once on a par-71 course at the 2000 Golf World Invitational.
Steelman, who led after the opening round Friday with a 62, finished tied for ninth at 11-under-par 199, while Howe tied for 19th at 6-under-par 204.
Even the Jackets’ two individual competitors played big Sunday, with junior Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) carding a 7-under-par 63, which was Tech’s fourth round of 63 or better on the weekend, and sophomore Aidan Kramer (Oviedo, Fla.) shot 3-under 67. They had one bogey between them. Forrester tied for sixth place individually at 13-under-par 197 for his second career top-10 finish and a career low score.
Stats that matter – Tech played the par-5 holes in 21-under-par for the weekend, the par-4 holes 11-under and the par-3 holes 3-under … Connor Howe was 7-under-par on the six par-5 holes for the tournament, best in the field … Tech’s 79 birdies were one shy of Clemson’s tournament best 80.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Georgia Tech posted a 10-under-par 270 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 44-under-par 796, while Clemson shot 13-under-par 267 in the final round to finish at 43-under-par 797. Both 54-hole totals were team records
Auburn and San Diego State matched low Sunday rounds (16-under-par 264), and the Tigers wound up in third place at 809 (-31), while the Aztecs finished fourth at 810 (-30). Louisville finished fifth at 814 (-26), followed by Washington at 815 (-25), Arizona at 819 (-21), Oregon at 820 (-20) and Utah at 830 (-10). Alabama and New Mexico tied for 10th place at 834 (-6).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Auburn’s J.M. Butler came away with medalist honors after firing a 7-under-par 63 Sunday, posting a 54-hole total of 193 (-17) that was one stroke better than Georgia Tech’s Christo Lamprecht (194, -16) in a tight leaderboard.
Washington’s R.J. Manke (63 Sunday) and Arizona State’s David Puig tied for third at 195 (-15), followed by Clemson’s Kyle Cottam (196, -14) to round out the top five. Tech’s Bartley Forrester tied for sixth place with Arizona’s Sam Sommerhouser, while the Wildcats’ Christian Banke finished solo eighth at 198 (-121).
The Yellow Jackets’ Ross Steelman finished in a three-way tie for ninth at 199 (-11) with Clemson’s Jacob Bridgman and Washington’s Taehoon Song.
HEAD COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAID – “We had a nice stretch from five through 13 or so to give us a cushion. Clemson is really good. They should have made match play and should have won the conference last year. So it’s a tremendous win for us, a total team win. This was a tournament where you needed to make a lot of birdies, and we got some big birdies at the 17th hole. Connor made a big one after making bogey at 16, Benjamin made one after a double-bogey, and Ross made one after he had bogeyed a couple of holes earlier on the back. We had a different guy lead us every day, which means we have some depth.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Yellow Jackets has won the Maui Jim Intercollegiate twice in four appearances, having also won the tournament in 2018 following finishes of sixth and second the two years prior. Georgia State hosted the 14-team event, which was 54 holes over three days at Mirabel Golf Club, a 7,081-yard, par-70 layout in Scottsdale, Ariz., in the same vicinity as Grayhawk Golf Club, site of the NCAA Championship last spring and in each of the next two years.
Participating teams included Georgia State, Arizona, Augusta, Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, Cal, Colorado State, Denver, Georgia Tech, Louisville, New Mexico, Oregon, San Diego State, Utah, and Washington. Four of the 16 teams competed in the NCAA Championship last year, while another eight competed in NCAA Regional play. Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are ranked in the Bushnell/Golfweek Preseason Coaches top 25.