Golf rounds out fall season with top-two finish

Freshman Hiroshi Tai holds his trophy after securing an individual win at the Golf Club of Georgia Invitational. His minus-13 total helped lead Tech to a top-two finish at the event. // Photo courtesy of Clyde Click/GTAA

On Oct. 3, Tech traveled to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas to compete in the Ben Hogan Collegiate. Colonial CC, host to the PGA TOUR’s Charles Schwab Challenge, was set up to be difficult for the players as it played from more than 7200 yards. Colonial is known for its tight, tree-lined fairways and its difficult three-hole stretch of holes three through five that are properly nicknamed the “Horrible Horseshoe.” Over the three rounds, this stretch featured three of the most difficult six holes on the course, highlighted by the fifth hole, which played just under a half stroke under par. 

The Jackets got off to a quick start in the first round at this difficult test, shooting two under as a team. Senior Christo Lamprecht had an excellent round along with fellow teammates redshirt senior Bartley Forrester and freshman Aidan Tran as they all carded a 69 (minus-3). Along with freshman Hiroshi Tai’s score of 71 (plus-1), the Jackets were able to shoot a first round 278 which put them in a tie for first place with the University of North Carolina. Tran, Forrester and Lamprecht all trailed the lead by three shots which was held by Pepperdine’s William Mouw (minus-6). 

The second round was a different story for the Jackets. After carding 292 (+12) as a team, the Jackets dropped down the leaderboard into a tie for 10th place out of 16 teams. Although the team struggled in round two, Forrester did not, as he fired a bogey-free 65 (minus-5) to put himself on top of the individual leaderboard. The other counting scores included a 74 (plus-4) from Tai, a 76 (plus-6) from Lamprecht and a 77 (plus-7) from Tran. 

The third and final round was much of the same for the Jackets as they shot a team total of 285 (+5) to finish in a tie for 12th. Forrester was unable to back up his second round with another low score as he finished his tournament with a two over par round of 72. Because of his final round, he fell down the leaderboard into a tie for sixth. While Forrester struggled, Lamprecht showed why he plays, as he bounced back with a round of three under 67 which gave him a top 30 finish. Other counting scores for the day were senior Connor Howe’s 72 and Tran’s 74. ACC foe University of North Carolina crushed the field, winning the tournament with a score of 15 under. The individual title was won by Gustav Frimodt, a TCU senior from Glamsbjerg, Denmark, with a score of 202 (minus-8). Forrester finished four strokes behind Frimodt. 

The Jackets were quick to bounce back into action as they hosted the Golf Club of Georgia Invitational in Alpharetta, Ga. The tournament was hosted at the Jackets’ home course, the Golf Club of Georgia Lakeside Course. The par 72 course only played 7092 yards from the tips and gave the players a chance to attack and make birdies in bunches. Tech sent both an A and B team to this event. 

The Jackets’ A team came out firing in the first round, posting a score of 276 (minus-12), which placed them in first. Tech was led by Tai, who posted a bogey-free round of 65 (minus-7) and was aided by Lamprecht, Forrester and Howe who all shot under par. Tai was tied for first after the first round with University of Alabama freshman Nick Dunlap. The Tech B team exceeded expectations in the first round putting together a team score of 283 (minus-5) which was good for seventh place. Both sophomore Benjamin Reuter and senior Ross Steelman had solid rounds for the B team, posting scores of 68 and 69, respectively. 

The A team continued their momentum they gained from the first round into a second round total of 279 (minus-9), which again placed them at the top of the leaderboard. Tai backed up his stellar first round with another excellent round of 69 (minus-3). After two rounds, Tai found himself in the solo lead of the tournament with 18 holes to go. Tai’s round of 69 was matched by both Lamprecht and Howe, and senior Andy Mao added an even par round of 72. 

The Jackets’ B team followed up their great first round with another solid performance. Their score of 284 (minus-4) allowed them to jump up a position in the leaderboard to sixth. Reuter and Steelman led the way once again with matching rounds of 70.

After two rounds, the Jackets A and B team were in contention for the team victory and Tai was in good position for his first individual victory. 

The third round went back and forth for the Jackets as both Stanford and Pepperdine were making runs at the team title. Ultimately, Stanford’s late run led by Michael Thorbjornsen proved too much for the Jackets as Stanford took the team title by one shot over the Jackets. The Jackets one under par round of 287 was not enough for the run by the Cardinals. While the Jackets failed to finish the job as a team, Tai was able to hold off a late charge by Duke sophomore Kelly Chinn and take home the individual title. Tai’s second straight round of 69 gave him a one-stroke victory over Chinn. Tai’s clutch moment came when he birdied the difficult 226 yard par 3 17th, a hole that played as the most difficult for the week. The Tech B team had a great outing, finishing in fifth after a third straight under par round for Steelman and a 68 (minus-4) by Tran. Steelman tied for fifth place in the individual competition. 

This second place team finish and individual title capped off a great fall season for the Jackets. The Jackets will next be in action in Waimea, Hawaii at the Hapuna Golf Course for the Amer Ari Intercollegiate in February.