THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s golf team, preseason ranked No. 4 in the Bushnell/Golfweek coaches poll, opens its 2023 fall schedule Friday at the Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. The tournament kicks off a five-event fall slate that will take the Yellow Jackets to Illinois, Texas and California, with the other two events in the Atlanta area.
After guiding the Yellow Jackets to the program’s 19th Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship, head coach Bruce Heppler welcomes back three starters for his 29th season on The Flats, including seniors Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) and Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa) and sophomore Hiroshi Tai (Singapore), each of whom are ranked among the world’s top 50 amateur players.
Lamprecht, a first-team All-American in 2023, won The Amateur Championship and was low amateur at The Open Championship over the summer and enters the fall No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and No. 2 in the PGA Tour University rankings. Forrester, an All-ACC performer in 2022 with two collegiate victories, is No. 44 in the WAGR and No. 38 in PGA Tour U. Tai, who won two tournaments as a freshman and was the individual runner-up at the ACC Championship, is No. 69 in the WAGR.
Christo Lamprecht enters the fall ranked No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and in PGA Tour University. (photo by Eldon Linsday)
ROSTER OUTLOOK – Georgia Tech lost two seniors from its national runner-up squad in All-American Ross Steelman, who is now on the Korn Ferry Tour, and Connor Howe, now on PGA Tour Canada, but Lamprecht, Forrester and Tai bring back a combined five career tournament victories and 28 top-10 finishes.
Competition for spots in the lineup comes from five other returnees in seniors Adam Bratton (Newburgh, Ind.), Aidan Kramer (Oviedo, Fla.) and Andy Mao (Johns Creek, Ga.), as well as junior Benjamin Reuter (Naarden, The Netherlands) and sophomore Aidan Tran (Fresno, Calif.). They have combined to compete in 38 collegiate events in their careers, while Kramer and Mao both have summer amateur victories under the belts.
Heppler added a pair of freshmen to the mix in Kale Fontenot (Lafayette, La.) and Carson Kim (Yorba Linda, Calif.), both of whom ranked among the top 15 junior golfers in the class of 2023.
TECH LINEUP – Forrester, who won the 2022 Calusa Cup and the 2020 Puerto Rico Classic as well as the 2022…