Tech golf looks ahead after demolishing ACC

This is late, so I apologize, but I finally spoke with golf coach Bruce Heppler Thursday morning. The Jackets are four days removed from what Heppler called one of the four or five best tournaments that his team has played in the 15 years he’s been at Tech.

The Jackets demolished the field at the ACC tournament, going 33-under-par and winning by 20 strokes, to take their third consecutive ACC title and Heppler’s eighth. Paul Haley, Kyle Scott and John-Tyler Griffin finished 1-2-3 and James White tied for eighth. Second-place Duke was nearly as close to sixth place as it was to Tech.

Heppler said the most impressive aspect of the victory was the first round. It’s his contention that the first round can often be the most difficult, particularly for a team that has heavy expectations on it, as Tech often does.

Compounding that was that Tech’s golfers went out in the last groups, extending their wait to get on the course, and played in the worst conditions, cold and rainy. Still, they shot 7 under the first day at Old North State Club in New London, N.C., taking an eight-stroke lead into the second round.

Heppler said he emphasizes to his players that they be “tough,” as much as that can be said of a golfer.

“When things really matter, you may run into a nasty day like that,” Heppler said. “Somebody always plays good and figures it out. It might as well be us.”

Haley played 54 holes in 10-under-par to win. Haley, Heppler said, came to Tech as a junior golf All-American, but got knocked around a bit at the beginning of his career trying to make the lineup. He finished his junior season strong last year, tying for fourth at the ACC and for ninth at the NCAA championship. He has now won the last two tournaments he’s played, the ACC last week and the Yellow Jacket Classic the week before. Pretty good for the fourth best player on the team.

Said Heppler, “I think 1 through 5, we’re as good as anybody.”

Tech will be off until the NCAA regionals will be May 19-21 at a site to be determined. Golf bracketologists should be advised that Heppler expects Tech, which is ranked No. 2 in the country, to get a No. 1 seed at one of the six regional sites. The top five teams will advance to the NCAA tournament May 30-June 6 in Stillwater, Okla.

Players are on their own through finals next week and then will play in a U.S. Open qualifying event May 9, which means for the time being Heppler doesn’t have a whole lot of coaching to do.

Instead, it’s “travel arrangements, paperwork, recruiting, raising money,” he said. “Those don’t seem to go away for some reason.”

20 comments Add your comment

GTGreg

April 28th, 2011
3:02 pm

Just taking care of business in the ACC. Go Jackets!

Charlie Sheen

April 28th, 2011
3:08 pm

Why have I not been invited to play a round with these guys??

Sorry I gave poor advice to your baseball team, and they turned right around and got beaten by UGA.

UGA = Yawn

April 28th, 2011
3:15 pm

Way to go GT golfers!! Congrats.

juvenal

April 28th, 2011
3:30 pm

ken, thanks for the broad spectrum coverage……..

BYRDDAWG

April 28th, 2011
4:07 pm

What up Juvie? Hope you had a great Easter!!!

jacket fan in wisconsin

April 28th, 2011
5:02 pm

Better keep an eye on the softball team, too…………….

GOLD GOLF

April 28th, 2011
8:47 pm

W I N N I N G DUH FUTURE MASTERS PLAYERS

Lynn

April 28th, 2011
10:13 pm

Awesome win for the GT Golf Team. Keep it going!!

GT Fan

April 28th, 2011
10:15 pm

Yet more GT golfers heading to the pros.

GT GRAD

April 28th, 2011
10:22 pm

Great news!

We need more coverage for the GT golf team from the AJC.

BYRDDAWG

April 29th, 2011
7:25 am

Um……my boy Bubba Watson’s leading @ Zurich….GO DAWGS!!!

Turnt_Up!

April 29th, 2011
9:12 am

Um, Byrddawg, holla back when Bubba wins a major, like Cink! Go Jackets!

Tech Guy

April 29th, 2011
9:28 am

Tech’s golf program is spectacular! Thanks, Coach.

juvenal

April 29th, 2011
10:26 am

had a great Easter, Byrd-thanks for asking,hope yours was the same……..pretty sure GT ahead in golf, but confess about as interesting as the royals…..

IL Jacket

April 29th, 2011
11:19 am

Great win Jackets!!! Congratulations to Coach Heppler, truly one of the most underrated teachers at Georgia Tech. Good luck at the upcoming NCAAs-will be tough to win on Okie State’s home course.

Chuck Allison

April 29th, 2011
2:32 pm

So Heppler has been our golf coach for 15 years and won only 8 conference championships. What happened those other 7 years? Thanks coach. I wish we could expect as much from Johnson, Gregory, and Hall.

killerj

May 1st, 2011
9:13 am

Rock & Roll(wreck),exce”lllllllllllll”ent! one more drop in the bucket! The trophy room is looking very, very nice!

Greyshark

May 1st, 2011
10:39 am

Bruce Heppler is a class act, and is among the finest college golf coaches in the history of the game. It is a shame that he is virtually unknown as his record establishes him in the pantheon of greats in any sport, including football and basketball. He recruits at the highest levels year in and year out, and this year brought in 2 local freshman, each of whom literally had their pick of national programs, including Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas, Alabama, UCLA, and 100 other quality golf programs, all of which offered an easier academic load. Despite the academic intensity on the Flats, his graduation rate is virtually 100%. His kids conduct themselves with the utmost class and respect, and are well prepared to go to the next level, or on to another career. Coach Heppler is an underappreciated legend, a virtual institution in the game as recognized by his peers. His athletes, Georgia Tech, the ACC, and college sports overall, have benefitted immensely from Coach Heppler’s leadership, and will continue to so as long as he is in the game at Tech.

Greyshark

May 1st, 2011
10:53 am

And by the way, Mr. GT Beat Writer, regarding your throwaway line regarding the toughness of golfers, perhaps you should pull a George Plimpton and submit to a week in the life before you make such a generalization. If you can survive the physical training, it would be interesting to see if you are mentally tough enough to overcome the elements and other physical challenges to shoot 68 when it counts. College golfers at the highest level are plenty tough, physically and mentally.

BYRDDAWG

May 1st, 2011
6:57 pm

Yes tech has a great golf team ….& I love our rivalry!!!! Bubba just won AGAIN!!!! GO DAWGS