When his career ends at Augusta State, Henrik Norlander might go down as the greatest Jaguar. In three seasons, he owns three victories and the best career stroke average (71.72).
Not bad for a guy who never planned to come to the school. The Danderyd, Sweden, native had his eyes set on Minnesota, but a problem with his transcripts led to him looking for another school. Fellow Swede Kalle Edberg, then a member of the Augusta State team, suggested he look at the Jaguars.
With the departure of his top two players from the previous season, coach Josh Gregory found an impact player in Norlander. He delivered immediately his freshman season, posting two wins and a 72.39 average. He's since been selected twice for Europe's Palmer Cup squad.
"I like it a lot here," Norlander said. "A great practice facility. A great coach. Great guys. We have a lot of fun together."
After recording six top-six finishes during the regular season, including a win at Augusta State's home event, Norlander struggled with his iron play. He tied for 31st at the Ping Cougar Classic before finishing tied for 21st at the NCAA Southwest Regional.
Before the NCAA Championships, he figured out his problem -- he was standing too far from the ball to hit his normal "pull-cut shot." Norlander displayed his old form in the first round at The Honors Course.
After three-putting for bogey at his first hole (No. 10), Norlander chipped in for eagle at the par-5 11th. He turned at 1-under and didn't miss a green on the front nine. His opening 68 helped keep Augusta State in good position. In the individual portion, Norlander was tied for first place.
On the second day -- moving day for the three-round tournament -- Norlander threw down another under-par round. His 69 put him two back entering the final round of individual competition.
Norlander was solely concerned with whether his team finished in the top eight.
"If I should shoot 50-over tomorrow and we still get there," Norlander said, "I'll be happy."
The Augusta State junior missed two fairways -- one at the par-4 seventh, where he pushed his drive into the right rough, punched out and wedged to four feet for par. He missed just one green on his round.
"It's the best two days of golf I've seen him play in three years," said Gregory, who walked with Norlander the entire way. "He plays well on hard golf courses, and this place truly suits his eye."
Norlander was so zeroed in he hit the pin at No. 10 with his 7-iron approach.
"That's one of my best rounds ever," he said. "My score could've been better, but I'm very happy."
With Patrick Reed yet to make an impact, the team needed Norlander's stellar play. The Jaguars also received solid efforts from Taylor Floyd (70) and Mitch Krywulcyz (74) for the second day in a row.
After opening with 74, Reed added 75. But he wasn't the only golfer yet to find his game. Carter Newman carded a pair of noncounting rounds.
With Augusta State in fourth place and holding a narrow lead over two teams tied for seventh with one round remaining, the team would look to Reed and Newman.