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Reeves, Tech take No. 2 seed to match play

MATCH PLAY

A look at the first round schedule for match play in the Men's NCAA Championship today at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course

10 a.m. -- No. 1 Cal vs. No. 8 Arizona State

10:45 a.m. -- No. 4 Texas vs. No. 5 Illinios

11:30 a.m. -- No. 2 Georgia Tech vs. No. 7 UNLV

12:15 p.m. -- No. 3 Alabama vs. New Mexico

MILTON -- Now the golf changes.

After three days of stroke play and striving to help Georgia Tech finish in the top eight and advance to match play in the Men's NCAA Championship, Seth Reeves gets to play the golf he loves at a course built for his skills.

The Peachtree Ridge graduate shot a team-best 2-under part 68 Thursday to seal the No. 2 seed for the Yellow Jackets golf team heading into the eight-team, three-day match play showdown for the team national title. Tech will face UNLV today with the first group teeing off at 11:30 a.m.

Reeves' three-day total was his first three tournament rounds under par for Georgia Tech this season and the best since he finished second at even-par in September at the same Capital City Club Crabapple Course in Milton. Tech's home course. A big, long track which allows Reeves to take advantage of his distance off the tee.

"It's just been a while, I've kind of struggled some this year, been up and down a lot," Reeves said. "I've learned a lot. I realized that I have to be myself. I am pretty happy to say that's what I did. I was pretty confident and relaxed and just had fun."

He smiled, laughing at the idea of match play.

"I love match play," he said. "With my game and everything, I just love it. It actually relaxes me, even though it's one-on-one, it relaxes me. It allows me to be pretty aggressive which is how I like to play. If I make a bogey, well I just lost a hole, I can just go all out."

Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler, a proponent of not changing too much in match play, agreed the resurgent Reeves would ramp up his play.

"He'll turn it loose," Heppler said. "If it wasn't loose before, it is now."

Reeves' Thursday round included an eagle 2 on the par 4 fifth hole. The big hitter drove the 320-yard green with a 3-wood and then ran in a 40-foot putt along the fringe.

"I felt like that gave us some momentum and it got the crowd going," Reeves said. "My coach was jacked, I was jacked up."

Reeves finished 4-under for the three days of stroke play, leaving him five strokes behind individual medalist Max Homa from Cal who shot 66 in his final round to finish 9-under for the tournament.

"We've worked all year for this, this is a seven month grind," the senior Homa said. "To win a national championship means a ton.

"I'll celebrate for probably 30 minutes. Then, I'll refocus on the real prize."

Cal entered the championship as the top seed and its roster turned in three solid, under-par rounds. The Bears took the top seed by six shots over Georgia Tech with a 16-under par score. Alabama and Texas finished 7-under. Illinois was 5-under and New Mexico, UNLV and Arizona State all finished at 2-over par. Texas A&M was also 2-over, but lost in a four-team playoff for the final three spots.

"Match play is a blast," Tech's top finisher Ollie Schniederjans said. "I have never done it in this team thing. It's match play anything can happen."

Schniederjans began his day 5-under par and struggled early with a bogey on the first hole and spent the entire round playing catch-up with even-par. He got there, but never made the run at that top he wanted.

"I felt like our team had built a nice cushion," the sophomore Harrision graduate said. "I was trying to win the golf tournament. Those four bogeys are the difference why I didn't win the tournament today."

Shun Yat Hak shot 1-over on the day for the Jackets and Anders Albertson and Bo Andrews both shot 3-over 73s. Albertson's round dropped him from the top 10 to tied for 26th.

"I am just proud of our guys with the way last year went and missing out on nationals," Reeves said. "All we want to do was get to match play because everyone on our team is a good match play player. I am looking forward to it."

Reeves was the only Yellow Jacket under par on the final day and his round maintained the No. 2 seed position. This from a player not included with the team in the ACC tournament and who shot 9-over at that Tallahassee Regional.

"It's awesome," Heppler said. "I thought he'd play well here. He wanted to play in the postseason. That's exciting for him."