Scottsdale, Ariz. – Georgia Tech has advanced to match play at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship for the first time since 2014 after carding a 4-over-par round of 284 Monday and finishing in a tie for fifth place after 72 holes of stroke play. The Yellow Jackets have drawn the No. 5 seed and will take on No. 4 seed Pepperdine beginning at 10:10 a.m. Monday in one of the four quarterfinal matches at Grayhawk Golf Club.
Meanwhile, Ross Steelman, who shot under par for three straight days to lead the championship after 18, 36 and 54 holes, faltered on his final three holes Monday, shot a 3-over-par 73 and finished tied for runner-up honors behind Florida’s Fred Biondi by one stroke. The senior from Columbia, Mo., stood at 9-under-par for the championship and led by as many as four shots into the back nine Monday, but bogeyed each of his final three holes and posted a 72-hole total of 204 (-6).
“We’ll try and pick him up, but we’re not here if doesn’t play like he played the whole tournament,” said head coach Bruce Heppler. “It’s 72 holes, he played great, and it’s unfortunate. We advance because he played great. He took care of us. We’ll just focus on the team thing tonight, and come out and see what we can do tomorrow.”
“It’s disappointing obviously (to not win the individual title), but we came here to win the team championship, and that’s what we’re going to try and do,” echoed Steelman. “We go out and try and beat the person right in front of you, do that three times, and win the national championship.”
North Carolina, behind a 6-under-par round of 274 Monday, secured the top seed for match play and will take on eighth-seed Arizona State (10:10 a.m. Eastern time), while No. 2 seed Florida takes on No. 7 Virginia (9:20 a.m.). Those winners will face each other in a Tuesday afternoon semifinal. On the other side of the bracket, No. 3 Illinois drew No. 6 Florida (9:20 a.m.), with the winner taking on the Tech-Pepperdine winner in the afternoon.
Tech has advanced to match play for the fifth time since the format was introduced in 2009, and for the first time since 2014 in Hutchinson, Kan. The Yellow Jackets 1-4 all-time in match play at the NCAA Championship, reaching the semifinals in 2013 and losing in the quarterfinals in the other three opportunities. Tech is 3-1-1 in match play in 2022-23, including two wins in the ACC Championship, and has a 28-16-1 record in all match play since 2000.
Golf Channel will televise live the quarterfinal matches beginning at noon Eastern time Tuesday, and the semifinals matches beginning at 5 p.m.
Ross Steelman talks about his final round and Tech advancing to match play
TECH LINEUP – Lamprecht shook off a double-bogey at the opening hole to post his best round of the weekend, a 4-under-par 66 that left him tied for 40th place individually at 6-over-par 286. The junior from George, South Africa, a finalist for the Fred Haskins Award, recorded seven birdies and one bogey over the last 17 holes, carried the Yellow Jackets in the final round after having his score not count Sunday.
Lamprecht had the only subpar score for the Tech Monday as the Jackets struggled to finish strong. He birdied the final hole while the other four Jackets made bogey.
Senior Bartley Forrester, Tech’s No. 5 player, completed a solid weekend with a 2-over-par 72 while Steelman and freshman Hiroshi Tai contributed a pair of 73s for the Jackets. Forrester tie for 55th individually at 289 (+9) and Tai tied for 58th at 290 (+10).
Senior Connor Howe’s 74 didn’t count for the Yellow Jackets Monday, but he finished in a tie for 29th place individually, a career-best at the NCAA Championship, at 4-over-par 284.
Highlights from Christo Lamprecht’s final round
TEAM LEADERBOARD – North Carolina, which finished in a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard in last year’s NCAA Championship, shot 7-under-par 273 Monday and scored a four-stroke victory over Florida and Illinois in the team race. The No. 2-seeded Tar Heels posted a 6-under-par total of 1114, while the Gators and Illini finished at 2-under-par 1118.
Pepperdine finished in fourth place at even-par 1120, with Georgia Tech and Florida State, who shot 7-under-par Monday, tied for fifth at 1126 (+6). No. 15 seed Virginia, who started the day in 10th position, posted a 3-under-par round Monday to grab seventh place at 1131 (+11).
Arizona State and Stanford tied for eighth place at 1132 (+12), necessitating a playoff to determine the final team in match play, and the Sun Devils prevailed in two holes.
The Gators will be the No. 2 seed for match play via tiebreaker, which is the comparative cumulative drop score for the teams in the tie. The Yellow Jackets gained the No. 5 seed by virtue of the same tiebreaker.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Steelman’s late troubles enabled Florida’s Fred Biondi to come from behind in the final round and capture medalist honors with a 7-under-par score of 273. Biondi was the only competitor to break par all four days (69-68-69-67). Steelman, who led after 18, 36 and 54 holes, shot 73 Sunday and tied for second-place with Jackson Buchanan of Illinois at 274 (-6).
Stanford’s Barclay Brown and North Carolina’s Dylan Menante tied for fourth place at 275 (-5), with Virginia freshman Ben James taking sixth place alone at 276 (-4).
Four players tied for seventh at 279 (-1), and seven players finished at even-par 280.
NCAA Championship Round 4
Photos by Tim Cowie
MATCH PLAY SCHEDULE (Times Eastern)
Quarterfinals – Tuesday, May 30
- Match #1 – #2 Florida vs. #7 Virginia (1st tee)
- Match #2 – #3 Illinois vs. #6 Florida State (10th tee)
- Match #3 – #1 North Carolina vs. #8 Arizona State (1st tee)
- Match #4 – #4 Pepperdine vs. #5 Georgia Tech (10th tee)
- GOLF Channel – 12 to 12:30 p.m. ET
Semifinals – Tuesday, May 30
- 3:45 p.m. – Match #5 (winners of match #1 and #2)
- 4:35 p.m. – Match #6 (winners of match #3 and #4)
- GOLF Channel – 5 to 9 p.m. ET
Championship – Wednesday, May 31
- 4:35 p.m. – Match #7 (winners of match #5 and #6)
- GOLF Channel – 5 to 9 p.m. ET
Head coach Bruce Heppler talks about Tech’s performance and looks ahead to match play
TECH’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has reached the NCAA Championship finals 32 times since 1985 (33 times in program history), which is tied for fifth most in that time period behind Oklahoma State (36), Arizona State (35), Florida (34) and Texas (34), three of whom are in the field in Scottsdale.
The Yellow Jackets have qualified for match play five times since the advent of the stroke-play/match-play format in 2009, previously finishing third in 2010, second in 2011, second in 2013, fifth in 2014. Tech lost in the quarterfinals each time, except for 2013, when the Jackets lost in the semifinals. Tech lost to the eventual champion three times in its four appearances in match play – Augusta State by the score of 3-2 in the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011 and to Alabama (3-0-2) in 2013.
Tech has been the runner-up in the NCAA Championship four times (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005, all before the introduction of match play). Only Oklahoma State, which has 18, Texas (6) and Purdue (5) have more. The Yellow Jackets have finished in the top eight of stroke play 16 times.
In the three NCAA Championships played at Grayhawk Golf Club, Tech finished 15th in 2021, tied for 12th in 2022 and tied for fifth this year.
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ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team is in its 28th year under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 72 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 19 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 32 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up four times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.