The sophomore began his round on the back nine, making four straight birdies before a bogey on the par-3 15th set him back. He went on to hit nine straight pars before birdieing the par-4 seventh and finishing his round with a bogey at the par-4 ninth.
Schniederjans was tied for fourth, trailing Arizona State’s Jon Rahm, who shot a 9-under 61 on the 7,319-yard course. Oklahoma’s Abraham Ancer shot 65 and California’s Brandon Hagy 66, while Alabama’s Justin Thomas and Oklahoma State teammates Ian Davis and Talor Gooch joined Schniederjans at 67.
“I had an amazing start,” Schniederjans said. “My first four holes were hard, but I happened to birdie them. Then, I had to get back my momentum after the bogey on 15. I’m kind of bummed how I finished, but I did all I could this round.
“This course is wide-open. (Georgia Tech has) played it five times in the last couple of weeks, so we felt comfortable coming in. That knowledge helps out a lot. It’s the typical kind of course we play at Tech.”
After the bogey on 15, Schniederjans settled into a groove with his nine consecutive pars, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. He attacked holes on the front nine and used his second shots to get as close to the hole as possible.
“I just hit the ball off the tee,” Schniederjans said. “I wasn’t trying to be aggressive. I was just hitting the ball well and making good shots to the greens and fairways. I felt good.”
went well tee to green, but then his putter began to let him down. His pitch for an eagle at the par-5 fourth hit the flagstick, and he just missed birdie on his next attempt before settling for par.
Schniederjans also missed birdie tries on Nos. 5 and 6 before draining birdie at 7. His 15-foot birdie attempt at No. 8 also fell short.
“I was livid about missing all of those birdies, but I had to keep going for it,” Schniederjans said. “I had to give myself chances.”
Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler agreed.
“If you had watched Ollie play, there was a 61 there,” Heppler said. “I think he three-putted two in a row for par. I mean, it’s there. If you get a ball in line, there is a really good chance it will go in.”
This is the first time Georgia Tech has hosted the NCAA championships, and playing so close to home has been a huge lift for Schniederjans.
“It’s like living in a hotel where you live,” he said. “It’s a different feeling being this close to home, but there’s no pressure. That’s for every team at this stage. We’re just excited to compete.
“This is the perfect start for us. Starting well is the hardest part of the first day. We’re shooting what we did in practice, so that’s pretty good.”
— Marietta Daily Journal sports writer Emily Horos contributed to this report