Tai, Jackets Top Leaderboard at Golf Club of Georgia

[Georgia Tech Athletics] Tai, Jackets Top Leaderboard at Golf Club of Georgia

Alpharetta, Ga. – Freshman Hiroshi Tai fired a 7-under-par 65 Friday to share the individual lead, and Georgia Tech shot a 12-under-par 276 to grab a share of the team lead after the opening round of the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational.

Looking for their first victory of the fall season and third the history of its annual home event, the 13th-ranked Yellow Jackets opened strong behind four subpar rounds on their home course, posting their lowest round in this event since 2018, when Tech shot 270 (-18) in the opening round on the way to a third-place finish.

Round 2 begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, with Tech teeing off the first hole at 9:55 a.m. The tournament concludes with the final round Sunday. Twice a winner of this event, the Yellow Jackets have not won it since 2012.

TECH LINEUP – Tai, a native of Singapore who attended high school in Windermere, Fla., recorded four of his birdies on par-4 holes, and birdied both par-5s on the back nine. He had a 15-foot eagle chance at 18 to take the outright lead, but the putt lipped out and he tapped in for birdie. Tai enrolled at Tech in January after serving a two-year military obligation in the Singapore Navy, and has qualified to play in all four fall events for the Jackets.

Christo Lamprecht and Bartley Forrester each shot 2-under-par 70, while Connor Howe added a 1-under-par 71 for Tech. Andy Mao posted an even-par 72 and did not count.

The Jackets led the field in par-5 scoring (-14) and in total birdies (24) for the round.

Tech’s B team, led by a 4-under-par 68 from Benjamin Reuter and a 3-under-par 69 from Ross Steelman, posted a 5-under-par round of 283 and sits in seventh place. The B group outscored No. 7 Virginia, No. 10 Tennessee and No. 6 Texas A&M. Reuter, a sophomore, is in a group of eight players tied for fourth place, while Steelman is one of seven competitors tied for 12th place. Aidan Kramer shot 72, and freshman Aidan Tran a 74 to aid the B team.

Freshman Hiroshi Tai chats about his opening round at Golf Club of Georgia

TEAM LEADERBOARD – Clemson made a late push Friday to match the Yellow Jackets at 12-under-par 276, three strokes ahead of No. 25 Pepperdine, which carded a 9-under-par 279. No. 5 Stanford and No. 12 Alabama, each of whom posted an 8-under-par total of 280, are tied for fourth.

Washington (282, -6), Georgia Tech’s B team (283, -5), No. 27 Wake Forest and No. 7 Virginia (284, -4) and No. 10 Tennessee (286, -2) round out the top 10 in the 14-team field.

INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Tai is tied with Alabama’s Nick Dunlap, who had one bogey and eight birdies Friday, at 7-under-par 65. They are two shots ahead of Virginia freshman Ben James, the nation’s No. 4-ranked player who posted a 5-under-par 67. Eight players are tied for fourth place at 4-under-par 68, highlighted by the Yellow Jackets’ Reuter, Stanford’s Michael Thorbjornsen (ranked No. 3 in the nation) and Tennessee’s Caleb Surratt, and a group of seven players are tied for 12th at 69 (-3).

Thirty-three of the 75 players in the field broke par in Friday’s round, which began with temperatures hovering under 45 degrees and finished at a mild 68 degrees.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, formerly called the United States Collegiate Championship, is contested at the Yellow Jackets’ home club. The tournament is played exclusively on the 7,092-yard, par 72 Lakeside Course, 18 holes each day Friday through Sunday. Competition begins at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Admission is free all three days.

All 13 teams competing at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate played in NCAA regionals last spring, six advancing to the NCAA Championship, including 2021 national champion Pepperdine and perennial ACC powerhouses Clemson and Wake Forest, as well as traditionally-strong Western teams Southern California, Stanford, Texas A&M and UCLA. Seven teams are currently ranked among the top 25 in the Golfstat rankings – Alabama (11), Georgia Tech (13), Pepperdine (20), Stanford (7), Tennessee (10), Texas A&M (9) and Virginia (8). Among the individuals, the field includes 18 players ranking among the top 100 in the most recent Golfstat rankings.

All 10 Georgia Tech players are competing in two teams, with the primary team composed of the top five players, and a B team composed of the rest. The B team also will compete for a team score.

Tech is paired with Stanford and Tennessee for Friday’s opening round, and with Clemson and Stanford for Saturday’s second round. Pairings for the Sunday’s final round will be set based on the leaderboard through the conclusion of 36 holes.

TECH’S GOLF CLUB OF GEORGIA COLLEGIATE HISTORY – Georgia Tech has won the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate twice in the event’s 15-year history, in 2010 and 2012. James White, who set tournament records for 18-hole score (62) and 54-hole score (204, broken in 2014), won medalist honors in 2010, while Ollie Schniederjans won it in 2013 for Tech’s only individual titles.

Clemson, Oklahoma State, Southern California and Texas also have won twice. The Tigers captured the inaugural title in 2006 and again in 2009, the Longhorns won in 2014 and shared the title with Virginia in 2016, the Cowboys won in 2013 and 2017, and the Trojans in 2008 and 2019. The tournament was not played in the fall of 2020 due to COVID-19, and Pepperdine captured the title in 2021.

The Yellow Jackets tied for sixth place last fall in this event, and have finished out of the top five four times in 15 years.

Round 1 in Photos

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