On March 20, the Tech golf team traveled to Ball Ground, Ga. for the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship. The Jackets had a good showing in the championship, winning three out of four matches.
Match play is different from stroke play, which is what the Jackets are used to playing. In match play, players from one team compete against players from the other team on a hole-by-hole basis. Whichever team wins the most holes out of 18 is declared the winner.
The Jackets’ first match was against Washington State on Sunday. The Jackets and Cougars remained tied through four of the matches until Tech won the tiebreaker for the victory.
Junior James White got things going for the Jackets early on as Tech’s No. 1-seeded player defeated his opponent by being up four holes with only two holes to go. White’s victory would prove doubly important later on as his win was the tie-breaking match between the two squads.
Washington State’s Nick Ellis narrowly defeated senior John-Tyler Griffin in the game’s second match by only one hole. Senior Paul Haley also lost his match to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
Freshman Richard Werenski answered Ellis’ narrow win with a one-hole win of his own to draw even with the Cougars.
Senior Kyle Scott tied his opponent after 18 holes to split the match 2-2-1. White’s victory gave the No. 3 seeded Jackets the win over the No. 14 seed Washington State.
Tech’s second match of the day did not fare as well as its first, and the Jackets fell to the No. 10 seeded USC.
Tech’s No. 1-seeded player White won his match in a less convincing fashion than his first with the win coming late in the match, after the 17th hole.
Tech’s fifth-seeded player Haley also won a hotly contested match, needing all 18 holes to defeat his opponent.
Those close wins were not enough to spur the Jackets to victory, and the Trojans took the match 3-2 thanks to some inclement weather.
“The course played a little differently. Some of the holes were shorter [than yesterday] and some played longer depending if it was into the wind or down wind,” White said in an interview with ramblinwreck.com.
The remaining matches went better than Monday’s matches, and it started with the Jackets not dropping a single match in a win over East Tennessee State on Monday.
White and Haley continued their strong play as White dispatched his opponent three and one, and Haley rolled to victory, five and three.
Tech’s other two players could not find wins but managed to rebound after yesterday’s losses by picking up two ties.
Tech faced their hardest opponent of the championship on Wednesday in Texas A&M. The Aggies came into the match ranked No. 7 in the nation, but the higher ranked Jackets walked away with a 3-2 win.
White, Haley and Werenski were again winners, but only White had an easy time defeating his opponent. White’s match ended after only 14 holes, but both Haley and Werenski had matches that needed the 18th hole to decide it.
“I was two up with four to play, and that’s a good spot to be in. I was able to keep it together on the last few holes and make a couple clutch putts,” Haley said courtesy of ramblinwreck.com.
Tech is off until its next match on April 16-17 when it hosts the Yellow Jacket Invitational at the Golf Club of Georgia.