Georgia Tech golfer Anders Albertson is into the best part of the season — the semester is over and the Yellow Jackets are in the postseason.
“That’s the fun part,” said the sophomore from Etowah High. “Just kind of golf and work out and hang out with friends and family.”
After several team members compete in a U.S. Open local qualifier Monday at Marietta Country Club, the Jackets will begin NCAA regional play next Thursday. At stake will be a spot in the NCAA championships, to be held May 28-June 2 at the Capital City Club Crabapple in Milton, where Tech practiced Wednesday. After winning the ACC individual title April 28, Albertson appears to be peaking for the postseason. A six-point summary of Albertson, who has the potential to join Tech’s pantheon of golf greats before his career is over.
- Albertson graduated from high school one semester early to enroll at Tech in January 2011, along with friend and longtime competitor Ollie Schniederjans, a Harrison High grad. They began play in the fall of 2011, and the two have developed into the most consistent players on a young team.
Schniederjans and Albertson are “incredibly competitive,” in coach Bruce Heppler’s words. They go at it daily in practice rounds with $5 on the line. Other times, they play for far higher stakes. Loser goes to class pulling a Barbie roller backpack behind him.
“How many strokes you lose by is how many days you have to carry it around,” Albertson said.
- Albertson became the eighth Tech golfer to win the ACC title, setting a 54-hole scoring record (201, 15 under par) and winning by five shots, the largest margin of victory since 2008. In the final round, he shot the low score of the day, a 4-under-par 68 with just one bogey in rainy, windy conditions.
“I walked with him the last nine holes, and it was nasty, and he hit some incredible shots,” Heppler said.
- Albertson and a couple of buddies tried to scare a friend by launching a water balloon at his dorm-room window. Alas, the three-man slingshot was way too powerful — “we can probably shoot it 150 yards,” he said — and the projectile crashed through the window rather than splatter against it.
“That was an expensive one,” he said.
- Tech will be the No. 2 seed at the NCAA regional in Tallahassee, Fla., a three-round tournament at the Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club. The top five of the 13 teams at the regional will advance to the NCAA Championships. A year ago, the Jackets were also the No. 2 seed at the Norman (Okla.) Regional, but failed to qualify for the NCAA Championship for just the second time in 22 regional appearances.
As a No. 2 seed last season, “I think we kind of expected to make it, and then we kind of found ourselves in a dogfight the last day” with host team Oklahoma, Albertson said. “I think that no matter what seed you are, you have to expect to play your best to make it through the regional.
- In his past three events, Albertson has finished fourth, tied for sixth and first. He gave a couple of reasons for the results. He worked on his pre-shot routine with Tech assistant coach Brennan Webb, and he became less concerned with honing his swing and spent more time on short-game drills and games designed to improve his scoring.
Working with his swing coach, Jeff Paton at the Golf Club of Georgia, “I’m getting comfortable with just kind of freeing up and not trying to be so perfect,” Albertson said.
Albertson is ranked No. 24 in the country by the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, three slots ahead of Schniederjans.
- The toughest, but perhaps most useful, class for Albertson this semester was accounting, about which he confessed “I had no clue.” Perhaps it should not come as a surprise, given that before the class Albertson didn’t understand the meaning of the “debit or credit?” question at the cash register.
“I’d switch it up, debit and credit, every time,” he said. “So that was good. That was key to learn there.”
Albertson said he now is a faithful user of the debit option.