NCAA Golf News

Tech’s Hiroshi Tai Wins NCAA Golf Championship – Men’s Golf — Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Tech’s Hiroshi Tai Wins NCAA Golf Championship – Men's Golf — Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Carlsbad, Calif. – Georgia Tech sophomore Hiroshi Tai became the Yellow Jackets’ fourth national collegiate champion on Monday after carding a 1-under-par 71, and the Yellow Jackets shot a 4-over-par 292 as a team, qualifying for the match play portion of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship for the second straight year.

Tech is in the match play bracket for the sixth time since the NCAA introduced the format in 2009, but this one came in the unlikeliest of ways after the Yellow Jackets lost their All-American Christo Lamprecht to a back injury after the opening round. The Jackets face top seed Illinois, which scored a 16-stroke victory in the team race, at 9:50 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday morning.

Tai, who was 6-under-par for the tournament and had a two-stroke lead, nearly saw his and his team’s hopes derailed when he put his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the next-to-last hole of the round, the par-3 8th, and made triple bogey. The development left him one shot behind individually at 3-under-par, and the Yellow Jackets dropped out of the top eight on the leaderboard.

Head coach Bruce Heppler’s team was not done yet, however. Tai got up and down on the last hole for par, and his teammates ahead of him made similar par-saving shots at the final two holes to keep the Jackets alive. Freshman Carson Kim (Yorba Linda, Calif.) chipped in for birdie at the 8th, the same hole Tai tripled, while senior Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) and freshman Aidan Tran (Fresno, Calif.) escaped trouble at the final hole by also getting up and down from off the green.

Then Tai and his teammates waited for more than an hour to see where they would finish. Florida, the team which vanquished Tech in the championship match a year ago, played its final three holes 7-over-par, and Oklahoma had similar trouble finishing its round, both teams falling back and elevating the Yellow Jackets back in the top eight.

The players chasing Tai comprised some of the best players in college golf. Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent, who assumed the lead when Tai stumbled, lost two shots over his last six holes. Other such as Florida State’s Luke Clanton, Virginia’s Ben James, Stanford’s Karl Vilips and Auburn’s Jackson Koivun, were unable to get the birdie they needed to win or tie. Sargent and James, playing in the final group of the round, both missed makeable birdie putts which would have forced a playoff.

“Means a lot to me (to win the title),” said Tai….


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