News & ToursJune 6, 2010

Augusta State men claim NCAA title

__OOLTEWAH, TENN.—Augusta State coach__Josh Gregory is going to have to come up with another way of motivating his Jaguar golf team. The "little-guys-that-get-no-respect" angle will no long apply.

Not after what happened Sunday afternoon at The Honors Course, when the Jaguars defeated top-ranked Oklahoma State 3-1-1 to win the NCAA Championship.

"It's a dream come true," said Gregory. "I can promise you that there is no university or golf program that would appreciated a national championship as much as Augusta State."

No doubt college golf means something at the 7,000-plus student school in Augusta, Ga. It's  the only sport in which the school competes at the Division I level.

With Augusta State's top two players, Henrik Norlander and Patrick Reed, knocking off OSU All-Americans__Morgan Hoffmann__ and Peter Uihlein with little trouble (winning 5 & 4 and 4 & 2, respectively), the Jaguars had secured two of the three points needed for the title. The deciding match then ultimately came down to the No. 3 players for bother teams, Augusta's Mitch Krywulycz and Oklahoma State's Kevin Tway, a shock for those that had followed the match from the outset

Krywulycz, a redshirt junior from Australia, had been 4 down to Tway with seven holes to play, but rallied to win Nos. 12-15, making birdies on three of the holes. With the match still all square after 18, Krywulycz making a tidy up-and-down from right of the green for par to halve the hole, the two proceeded to a sudden-death playoff hole. Both players were on par-4 first green in regulation, Krywulycz putting first from 25 feet. When his birdie try came up 18 inches short, his par was conceded.

Tway's birdie try from 22 feet missed just left of the hole, but trickled five feet by the cup. When he failed to make the comebacker for par, Augusta State had won its title.

"I just kept saying to myself you've got to keep playing," said Krywulycz about the secret to turning the momentum in his favor.

Krywulycz's turnaround wound up overshadowing the play of his teammate Taylor Floyd, who looked as if he might turn out to be the hero for the Jaguars. The sophomore, facing Oklahoma State's__Trent Whitekiller__, played for a second straight day while battling the flu. The match was supposed to be the second off the tee, but was pushed back to the last match, allowing Floyd to get an IV treatment before teeing off.

"He looked like death this morning," Gregory said. "I didn't think he would be able to go today,

but he told me, Coach, there is no way that I would miss it for the world."

Yet for as sick as he felt on the inside, Floyd proved a battler on the outside, winning three of his first four holes and hanging with his opponent the entire the day. While Whitekiller managed to whittle away at Floyd, even taking the lead on the 14th hole, Floyd countered with a 15-foot birdie on the 16th to square the match and was looking at a 30-footer for an eagle on the par-5 17th.

But it became moot with Tway missed the par on the first hole, and Augusta cliched the title (Floyd and Whitekiller match going down as being halved). "I

The lone OSU win came from redshirt freshman Sean Einhaus, who defeated__Carter Newman__ 2 & 1.

"It's disappointing, obviously," said OSU coach Mike McGraw. "We didn't play well today. We were behing the eight ball from the beginning. In the end we didn't hit the shots you need to won."

In contrast to the dejection the Cowboys had on their faces afterward—and there was no question the emotional letdown the team felt as they were trying to win the school's 11th NCAA golf title—the elation from the couple hundred of Augusta State supporters who made the almost four hour drive was endearing.

"This is a big deal not just for Augusta State but for the city of Augusta, Ga.," said Augusta State athletic director Clint Bryant. "I just was talking to the mayor last night about this. Our entire community feeds off the school. People think of Augusta and they think of Augusta National and the Masters. But there's more to the city than just that tournament."

All season long, Gregory had pointed out to his players the various slights that his Jaguar squad faced, despite the fact the team had won three times this season and finished in the top five in its last nine tournaments entering nationals.

"We expected to do this," Floyd said. "But you look at what kind of school we are, it's pretty unbeliveable to get it done."

More from The Loop