In the regional, Tech was nearly able to chase down Oklahoma State and Clemson by shooting the best final round of the tournament. Four of the five Yellow Jackets shot 68 on a very difficult golf course.
“We played 54 holes with the team (Oklahoma State) that’s arguably played better than anybody in college golf this year, and we almost got them,” Heppler said.
This Tech team is unlike many of Heppler’s former championship contenders. While previous rosters included future professionals like Matt Kuchar, Bryce Molder, Troy Matteson and Cameron Tringale, this Tech squad doesn't depend on one or two individuals. It’s good because of the sum of its parts.
Junior John-Tyler Griffin has been Tech’s most consistent player all season and has six top-10s, including a tie for third at the Southeast Regional. Sophomore James White has three top-10s and has produced the team’s lowest scores in the spring. Senior Chesson Hadley, an All-American as a sophomore, won the ACC and tied for eighth at the regional. Juniors Kyle Scott and Paul Haley were both among the top 15 at the ACC tournament.
“Knowing they can play together and win builds confidence in each other,” Heppler said. “I tell them to keep playing and don’t worry about if you have a bad hole. You’ve got to play 54 holes. So what if you had a bad hole. It’s just a hole and you’ll play a million of them in your lifetime. Just focus on the task at hand and that’s the shot in front of you.”
A 30-team field, which also includes Augusta State and Georgia Southern, will play 54 holes Tuesday through Thursday to determine an individual winner and the eight teams that will qualify for the finals. The eight finalists will compete head-to-head in single-elimination match play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to determine a team champion. Texas A&M won the title in 2009.
Where: The Honors Course, outside Chattanooga, Tenn.
Georgia teams: Augusta State (No. 9 seed), Georgia Tech (No. 14 seed), Georgia Southern (No. 30 seed)