Georgia Tech after ACC title No. 17
(Georgia Tech Athletics Photo)
NEW LONDON, NC (April 22, 2018) - For the 17th time in program history and the ninth time in the last 13 years Georgia Tech has won the ACC Tournament and they did it without a player recording a top-10 finish.
Leading by six at the start of the day at the Old North State Club No. 5 Georgia Tech saw their lead dwindle throughout the final round but in the end some clutch play put the Yellowjackets over the top. The winning blow came from Chris Petefish (T17; -7) who birdied the final hole to cap a 29-under two-stroke win for Georgia Tech, their fourth win of the year.
“It’s a great conference with all these teams that are ranked, so any time you win here it means a lot, and this year is no different," head coach Bruce Heppler said. "We knew that Clemson would come charging up the leaderboard, they always do. It got close and exciting and this place brings that out. We’re just happy to walk away on top this time."
No. 16 Clemson ended up 27-under in second, Wake Forest was third at 26-under, in fourth it was 24-under Virginia while defending champion Duke was 20-under in fifth.
With the Yellowjackets ahead by just one as Petefish stepped to the final tee, he hit what he called, “my best tee shot of the weekend” allowing the senior to attack the green with his second. With a green light to go for the green Petefish knocked his second shot into the center of the green setting up a two-putt title clinching birdie from 20-25 feet.
In the final round Georgia Tech also received a big lift from Tyler Strafaci (T12; -8) who carded his teams low score of the day. 1-over after nine holes Strafaci came up big on the second nine playing the side in a flawless 5-under 31 highlighted by three birdies in a row from Nos. 10-12 and additional birdies on the 14th and 18th holes.
Also contributing the Yellowjackets win this weekend were Luke Schniederjans (T12; -8), Andy Ogletree (T24; -2) and Noah Norton (T48; +5).
“They’ve all done that all year long," Heppler said. "It’s good that you’ve got five in the game. Even down to the last hole, they’re always covering for each other, no matter what happens.”
In the medalist race Thomas Walsh of Virginia took the title finishing 16-under. Beginning the day two shots clear of teammate Danny Walker, Walsh closed with a bogey-free 4-under 68 to win by two shots. A junior, Walsh sprinted out of the gates with consecutive birdies and then rolled in a third on the 4th to take control of the tournament. From there Walsh played steady golf to the house while adding an additional birdie on the 16th to create some extra breathing room late.
Remarkably for Walsh this was his first career collegiate win and also his best score at the college level, his previous best was an 11-under runner-up showing at the 2016 Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate.
Walsh took the lead on Saturday with a 7-under 65 following a 5-under 67 in the first round
“It is incredible,” said Thomas Walsh “It is hard to put into words. It is the best thing that has ever happened to my golf career. It’s my only win in college. I could not wish it any other way, especially doing this in my home state. I’ve been coming to this thing [the ACC Championship] for maybe 10 years. I always wanted to just play in the tournament. To win it, is incredible.”
With the win Walsh becomes the second straight Caviler to win the event after Jimmy Stanger won a year ago.
Clemson's Doc Redman fresh off a made cut last week at the RBC Heritage took second place with a 14-under tally, first round co-leader Danny Walker of Virginia took third at 13-under, taking fourth was Wake Forest's Paul McBride at 12-under while Ben Griffin of North Carolina was 11-under in fifth.
Editors Note: Georgia Tech and Clemson athletics contributed to this story
ABOUT THE ACC Championship
54 hole men's collegiate championship of the
Atlantic Coast Conference. Team (best four scores out
of five players each round) and individual competitions.
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