ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Georgia Tech came up one shot short of winning its third U.S. Collegiate Championship, played last weekend at Golf Club of Georgia.
The Yellow Jackets, the No. 2-ranked team in the country, finished one stroke behind No. 9 Oklahoma State, which finished the 54-hole tournament with a 15-under 849 total.
Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans, one of three starters for the Jackets from the Atlanta area, was the tournament medalist with a 10-under 206 total, but it was a bittersweet victory for the junior from Powder Springs.
Schniederjans, who has pulled out several tournament victories for the Yellow Jackets with final-hole heroics, had a chance to give Tech a share of the team title, but his birdie try on the final hole just missed in the fading daylight. The start of the final round was delayed one hour by fog, resulting in a finish just after sunset.
“I would trade everything for the team to win,” Schniederjans said. “I care so much about this team. I’m bummed about my back nine costing us.”
Schniederjans began the final round four shots in front in the individual competition, and birdied four of the first five holes Sunday to increase his lead.
“I got out to a hot start today, which was awesome,” he said. “But I struggled on the back nine.”
Schniederjans, who shot 4-under 32 on the front nine of Golf Club of Georgia’s Lakeside course all three days, shot 39 on the back nine Sunday with no birdies after scoring five birdies on the front. He had an excellent chance for birdie on the par-5 18th to give the Yellow Jackets a share of the title, but missed the putt.
“Sometimes you come up clutch, and sometimes you’re a lip-out away,” Schniederjans said. “I’ve had my share of both.”
Schniederjans posted scores of 66-69-71 to win medalist honors by four strokes. Teammate Anders Albertson of Woodstock was third at 211, and Bo Andrews tied for 10th at 213. Also competing for Georgia Tech was Duluth’s Seth Reeves.
The Yellow Jackets shot 279 the first day to lead Oklahoma State by five shots, but fell one behind the Cowboys after a 287 in the second round. Both teams shot 284 the final day.
In four fall tournaments, Georgia Tech won the annual Carpet Capital Collegiate outside Dalton and an event hosted by North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The Yellow Jackets were second behind host Mercer in Macon and in the USCC, finished two shots behind Mercer in their other runner-up finish.
Georgia Tech has reached match play in the NCAA Championship three of the last four years, losing in the semifinals earlier in 2013 at Capital City Club’s Crabapple course to eventual champion Alabama, and in the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011 to Augusta State, which won the national championship both years. Only eight teams qualify for match play each year.
The U.S. Collegiate Championship is one of two national events hosted annually by Golf Club of Georgia, in Alpharetta, and is one of the top tournaments in college golf. This was the eighth time the event was played.
Golf Club of Georgia also hosts the annual Georgia Cup, which pits the reigning U.S. Amateur champion in a match against the British Amateur champion, just before the two players head to Augusta for the Masters.
In the past, the club hosted the Champions (formerly Senior) Tour for almost a decade, along with U.S. Open qualifiers, the Georgia Amateur and the Atlanta Open.
Gruca lifts Georgia State to title
Former Milton golfer Tyler Gruca helped lead Georgia State to victory in a college tournament hosted by the Panthers and played at Berkeley Hills in Duluth last week.
Gruca, a senior, shot a 65 in the second round, just one stroke off the course record, and tied for second at 8-under 208 in the individual competition, two behind the medalist.
Georgia State won the tournament by two shots over South Florida and by four over South Alabama. The Panthers’ 845 total was a tournament record and its final round 280 was the team’s lowest one-day score since 2008.