Tech’s men’s golf team had a busy weekend in Franklin Springs, Tenn., at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge. The weekend was packed full of close competition as the Jackets did their best to break their ties that developed early on in the tournament.
By the end of the first day of the tournament, the Jackets were all tied up. Sophomore James Clark ended the first day of the tournament with a five-player tie for eighth place at a two under par 140. Junior Vincent Whaley tied with six others for No. 16, sophomore Chris Petefish tied for No. 29, junior Michael Hines for No. 36 and sohpomore Jacob Joiner for No. 45.
Trapped in ties, the Jackets finished day one anxious for day two’s competition.
“It was a positive day in a lot of ways,” said head coach Bruce Heppler, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com. “We made 19 birdies in the morning round but had too many big scores. This afternoon, we struggled to make birdies, but we stayed away from the big numbers. The course is a challenge, and our guys complete all 36 holes.
“We just need a couple of guys to get under par and give us some momentum. I’m looking forward to see how we handle tomorrow.”
Day two did not disappoint. Whaley shot a 4 under par 67, the best individual round of the day and the best round of the fall for him personally. Petefish left day two in a tie for 29th place. Joiner tied for 55th at 230. Hines also completed day two locked in a tie for 36th place. With the only win for the Jackets on day two, Clark broke his tie for eighth place. As a team, Tech finished the second day in a tie for No. 7 with Florida at 15 over par 867.
Still unable to break their ties, the Jackets went into day three looking to rally for a win. Things looked hopeful as Clark defeated Florida’s Ryan Celano early on. He led from the start of the match with a birdie on the par three 10th hole and extended his lead four holes to the seventh before Celano rallied. However, the rally wasn’t enough to prevent Clark’s eventual victory.
Whaley also had a successful day. Tied almost his entire match with Sam Hopkins, Whaley earned another half for the Jackets. Hines played a close match against Ryan Orr, but was not able to earn a victory. The Jackets, unable to come from behind, lost to Florida in the match play portion of day three.
With time left to prepare, the Jackets are hoping to make a comeback at the United States Collegiate Championship. The three-day tournament begins October sixteenth at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta.