Patrick Reed became an Augustan by default. When his father, Bill, moved to the area in December 2007 to take a job as general manager of Mullins Laboratory, the younger Reed joined him and finished high school with online courses. His mother, Jeannette, and younger sister, Hannah, joined them four months later.
Reed split his childhood between San Antonio and Baton Rouge, La. He won the 2006 British Junior Open and led University High School to state titles in 2006 and 2007, claiming the individual title in 2007.
As an eighth-grader, Reed was offered a scholarship by Texas. He committed to the Longhorns, but soon changed his mind after visiting the University of Georgia.
"When I saw UGA, I saw the football stadium, I saw the atmosphere, I saw the campus. I saw all the huge things," Reed said. "I basically picked the school for the wrong reasons."
After a pair of incidents off the course, Reed decided to find a new home. Augusta State coach Josh Gregory needed another difference-maker. It was a perfect fit.
"When I got over here, I realized this is the place for me," Reed said. "This is a better fit for me. You have a great coach, great guys on the team, less distractions. I couldn't be happier here."
Reed proved to be a solid find. He finished with the second-best season stroke average in school history (71.21), a win and four other top-five finishes.
None of that mattered in the NCAA Championships, where he failed to find his footing the first two days. After opening with 74-75, Reed rebounded with 70 to regain his confidence. In match play, he showed why he was a Hogan Award semifinalist.
In the quarterfinals, Reed and Georgia Tech's Chesson Hadley went back and forth. The match was all square until the Augusta State sophomore birdied the par-3 14th. Reed led 1-up entering the final hole.
Earlier, Carter Newman shot 30 on the front nine and built a 4-up lead over Paul Haley. After a one-hour rain delay, Haley started chipping away at the deficit, winning three consecutive holes. Newman appeared to be in good shape after getting up and down for par from a plugged lie in the greenside bunker at No. 14 to go 2-up. Haley later responded with a chip-in for birdie at No. 17 to trail 1-down entering the par-4 closing hole.
Newman drained a 5-foot bogey putt to win his match and give the Jaguars their first point. James White closed out Mitch Krywulycz at No. 17, though, and Kyle Scott finished birdie-birdie-par to upend Taylor Floyd. Georgia Tech led 2-1 and needed one more point for the victory.
Hadley appeared to force a sudden-death playoff with Reed when he dropped a 30-foot bomb at the 18th. Georgia Tech celebrated on the green after Hadley seemed to have tied his match. Reed watched the Yellow Jackets cheer and dance around before lining up his 15-foot birdie attempt.
"It fired me up even more," Reed said. "I knew if I made (my putt) I could go even louder."
When the ball began tracking toward the hole, Reed pulled back his right arm. As the ball disappeared into the hole, he punched the air and unleashed a loud roar heard by Gregory and Henrik Norlander on the 17th green. With his 15-foot dagger, Reed tied the match at 2, setting up his teammate for the win.
"I hope that loud scream sent a message to everybody that, 'Hey, we're still here,' " Reed said.
Norlander led 4-up through 12 holes but watched his lead against J.T. Griffin evaporate. The Swede led 1-up with one to play. After Norlander two-putted for par from 18 feet, Griffin needed to make his 15-foot birdie putt to send the match into a playoff. When he missed, the Jaguars let out a collective sigh.
"I'd be lying to you if I said it wasn't special to beat Georgia Tech," Gregory said. "That's one of the best programs of all time. It's an in-state rival. It's the haves and the have-nots. To have an opportunity to beat Georgia Tech meant a lot to these kids."
The team celebrated with dinner at a Chattanooga restaurant, but Floyd barely touched his food. His health was quickly deteriorating -- at the worst time of the collegiate season.