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College Grove, Tenn. – Georgia Tech senior Jacob Joiner posted an even-par 72 in the opening round Sunday, the best score the 6th-ranked Yellow Jackets were able to produce on a rainy day at The Grove Club as they shot 9-over-par 297 and stand in third place following the opening round of the Franklin American Mortgage Collegiate.
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TECH LINEUP – Joiner, a senior from Leesburg, Ga., who tied for 22nd place competing as an individual at the Maui Jim Invitational two weeks ago and qualified for the U.S. Amateur in August, continued his solid play with three birdies and three bogeys, and his 72 was good enough to place him in a tie for fourth individually after the opening round.
Sophomore Luke Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) went 3-under-par in his first six holes Sunday but recorded only one birdie after that in firing a 74, putting him in a tie for 14th individually. Sophomore Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) overcame a triple bogey at the par-4 16th (his seventh hole of the day) to post a 75 and is tied for 18th. Freshman Noah Norton (Chico, Calif.) had the Jackets’ other counting score with a 76.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Mississippi, ranked No. 65 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin ratings, received a 70 from Josh Seiple and a pair of 72s in posting the only subpar score of the day, a 1-under-par 287, as The Grove was soaked with rains from Hurricane Nate. The Rebels have a five-stroke lead over host Middle Tennessee State (No. 72), which shot 4-over-par 292. The Jackets are another five strokes back of the Blue Raiders.
Kennesaw State is in fourth place at 301 (+13), followed closely by Liberty and the College of Charleston, both at 302 (+14), and Cincinnati (304, +16).
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Seiple, a redshirt junior at Ole Miss, shares the first-round lead with MTSU freshman Tyler Johnson, both of whom played steadily in the opening round at The Grove Club (par 72) with five birdies and three bogeys each. They were one stroke better than Michael Sass of the College of Charleston, the only other player to break par Friday with a 71.
Joiner is tied for fourth with four other players at even-par 72, a group that includes the Rebels’ Cecil Wegener, Beau Briggs and Chip Getz (playing as an individual), and Kennesaw State’s Jake Fendt.
COACH BRUCE HEPPLER SAYS – “Not a really good day for us; we had a lot of unforced errors and mistakes that some better concentration would prevent. We had a couple of big numbers that made a big difference. Jacob Joiner had a really solid round and hung in there well. He putted the ball well and was a real bright spot today.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – The Franklin American Mortgage Intercollegiate runs through Tuesday at The Grove Club in College Grove, Tenn., a venue which hosted one of the six NCAA regional tournaments last May. This is the fourth year of the tournament, which was previously won by Ohio State, Kentucky and Ole Miss. The Grove, designed by Greg Norman, is 7,368 yards long and plays to a par of 72. The event is hosted by Middle Tennessee State’s golf program, whose head coach, Brennan Webb, was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech from 2012-15 and helpd Bruce Heppler lead the Jackets to two ACC Championships and two appearances in the match play portion of the NCAA Championship.
The 12-team field includes host Middle Tennessee State, Charleston, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Liberty, Louisiana, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Ole Miss, South Dakota State, South Florida and Troy.