The men’s golf team traveled to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico to compete in the Puerto Rico Classic against a host of teams from around the country. The Jackets looked to continue their streak of top five finishes going back to Oct. of last year.
Tech jumped out to an early lead in the tournament over talented teams from Alabama and Oklahoma State, who sat second and third, respectively, after the first round.
Individually the Jackets performed especially well, with junior James White and freshman Richard Werenski each carding three-under-par 69s. Seniors Kyle Scott and John-Tyler Griffin also turned in impressive under-par rounds of 70. Senior Paul Haley also scored under-par for the first round, posting a 71.
At the end of the day, Tech sat atop the leader board with a healthy three-stroke lead over the Crimson Tide. White and Werenski finished the day tied for first in the individual competition, with Griffin and Scott tied for second place.
Despite some bad conditions, the second round of the tournament continued Tech’s strong showing in the tournament, though top-five opponent Alabama fought hard to take a share of the lead with the Jackets.
White and Scott turned in impressive rounds of 69 in the second round to pad the Tech lead. Although White posted one of the low rounds of the day, he lost his individual lead to junior Bud Cauley of Alabama, though only by one stroke.
Tech also ended the second round holding an 18-stroke lead over archrival Georgia and a 19-stroke lead over Clemson.
The final round proved to be the Jacket’s downfall, even as they posted a nine under par round of 279 as a team. This was the team’s second best round of the tournament, but it came against a stellar round from the Crimson Tide. Alabama posted the low team round of the tournament with a 274, four strokes better than Tech’s best round of 278.
Despite losing to Alabama, the Jackets did finish six strokes ahead of No. 1 ranked Oklahoma State and 17 strokes in front of the fourth-place rival Bulldogs.
Tech played well on the final day, with White posting his third round in the 60s of the tournament, carding an impressive 68 to end the final round. Scott posted another 69 to help the Jacket’s stay in contention.
Griffin also scored below par, shooting a two under par 70 in the last day. Though the team finished second to Alabama, the Jackets placed significantly better than most teams in the individual standings.
White won the overall title, as he bested All-American Cauley by one stroke, at 10 under. Scott finished in third at eight under. The top five finish comes as Scott’s third this season. Finally, Griffin finished tied for eighth, at four under, marking his fifth top 10 finish this year.
The Jackets will look to improve on their second place finish in next month’s Southern Highlands Classic, which will be held in Las Vegas the weekend of March 11.
The team finished in disappointing fashion in the same tournament last year, placing No. 14.
Tech is also looking toward this year’s ACC Championship, where they will try to successfully defend their conference title for a second time. This season would mark Tech’s third consecutive ACC title, which no other ACC team has done in more than 30 years.