The No. 4 Tech golf team competed in the Yellow Jacket Classic at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, GA over the weekend in preparation for the ACC tournament, which begins April 22. Tech faced teams from UNC-Wilmington, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Georgia State and Troy.
The first round of the tournament proceeded just as Coach Bruce Heppler would have wanted. Though there were some tough conditions on the 7020 yard, par 72 course, three of Heppler’s talented athletes occupied the top three spots on the leaderboard. Additionally, his team held an 11-stroke lead over second place after the first day of play.
The early success came courtesy of a strong effort from all of Tech’s top players. Senior John-Tyler Griffin carded the day’s low score, turning in a three-under 69 to lead the way in the individual competition. Griffin’s scorecard was nearly unblemished with just one bogey against four birdies.
In second place was senior Kyle Scott, who scored a two-under 70 in the first round, courtesy of two birdies on the two par threes on the front nine. Fellow senior Paul Haley turned in the final below par round of the day, shooting a one-under 71. Haley mixed in three birdies to go with two bogeys to reach 71 and take third place outright.
Freshman Richard Werenski, who was tied for eighth after the first round, scored a two-over 74 for Tech’s fourth counting score to bring the team total to 284, 11 shots better than UNC-Wilmington’s 295.
Tech looked to keep the pressure on going into the second round and close out the tournament at the top.
Sunday’s round at the Golf Club of Georgia teed off under hazy skies and a high of 75. This day would be no different than Saturday, with Tech’s top four players all placing in the top five on the leaderboard.
With Griffin, Scott and Haley occupying the top three spots, respectively, at the beginning of the day, Tech looked to be in excellent shape to win the tournament and the individual competition.
By the end of the day Tech’s top three players would reverse order. Haley took the individual crown, and in doing so he became the third different Tech golfer to win a tournament this year.
Griffin would end up in third after an even par round of 72 to go with his first round score of 69 for a total of 141. Remaining a solid second on Sunday, Scott would shoot a respectable two-under 70, matching his score from Saturday.
Haley would start off Sunday’s round with a bang, pitching in from 50 yards on the first for eagle. The talented senior would continue to succeed, scoring three birdies on the back nine to finish a bogey-free final round.
Werenski fired a 1-over 73 to finish tied for fifth. To round out Tech’s team, junior James White carded a second round 76 to go with his 75 from Saturday, and he finished tied for 13th. At the end of the day, Tech held a 19-stroke over UNC-Wilmington to cruise to an easy victory.
With the win, Tech heads into the ACC tournament to be held at the Old North State Club, in New London, N.C. A victory at the conference tourney would mark the third-straight ACC title for the Jackets, a feat that no other ACC team has accomplished in the past 31 seasons.