Georgia, Georgia Tech golf teams advance to NCAA Division I National Championship

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Georgia men’s golf team advanced to the NCAA Championships by finishing second in the Tempe Regional on Saturday at the ASU Karsten Golf Course.

The NCAAs will take place May 28-June 2 at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course in Alpharetta.

Georgia will be making its 44th appearance at the NCAAs. The Bulldogs have advanced 15 times in 17 years under Coach Chris Haack, who led Georgia to the 1999 and 2005 national titles and to runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2011. Since the Regionals format was adopted in 1989, the Bulldogs have moved onto the NCAAs 18 times.

The Bulldogs finished the Tempe Regional with a score of 13-under 827, including a 7-under 273 on Saturday.

“We could not be happier,” Haack said. “These guys did such a great job this week, especially the last two rounds when anything could happen. Our goal has been to return to the NCAAs, and we are excited that we now have that opportunity, especially with it being so close to home.”

Junior Joey Garber paced the Bulldogs in the final round with a 3-under 67. Sophomore Nicholas Reach and freshman Lee McCoy each signed for a 2-under 68, while junior Keith Mitchell posted an even-par 70. Senior T.J. Mitchell had the Bulldogs’ non-counting score of 7-over 77.

McCoy finished fourth individually at 7-under 203, followed by Garber in 13th at 3-under 207 and Reach in 20th at 1-under 209. Keith Mitchell wound up at 2-over 212 and Albany native and former Herald Player of the Year T.J. Mitchell — the Bulldogs’ leading scorer all season — finished at 12-over 222.

Joining the Bulldogs from the Tempe Regional in the NCAAs will be UCLA, Central Florida, Texas A&M and Arizona State.

The NCAAs format consists of 54 holes of stroke play to determine the medalist and the eight teams advancing to the single-elimination match play rounds.

TECH FINISHES FOURTH IN REGIONALS, PUNCHES TICKET TO NATIONALS: Bo Andrews played flawlessly over the final 16 holes and shot a 4-under-par 68 late Saturday, lifting 7th-ranked Georgia Tech to a 3-under-par final round of 285 and a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional. The Yellow Jackets have advanced to play in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship beginning May 28.

Tech, which was 7-under for its round and 19-under for the tournament at one point Saturday, had some hiccups on the final three holes and finished at 15-under 849.

The top five teams from each of the six regional tournaments being held around the country this weekend will make up the 30-team field for the NCAA Championship, which will be held May 28-June 2 at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course in Milton, Ga.

“We’re thrilled,” Tech coach Bruce Heppler said. “This was a pressure-packed week for us and a pressure-packed round (Saturday). Under the circumstances, this might be the best round we’ve ever played. Bo played a stud round (Saturday), and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”