Day 5: Match play

Taylor Floyd was recruited early on by Josh Gregory and never really considered other schools. Floyd wanted to stay in Georgia, and he committed to the Jaguars before his senior year of high school.

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Despite feeling ill, Taylor Floyd birdied No. 18 to beat Florida State's Wesley Graham and give the Jags a 2-1 lead.  Augusta State University
Augusta State University
Despite feeling ill, Taylor Floyd birdied No. 18 to beat Florida State's Wesley Graham and give the Jags a 2-1 lead.

"I knew this was a good program," he said.

Floyd played eight events his freshman season, winning Augusta State's home tournament and posting a 72.32 average. During his sophomore campaign, Floyd recorded five top-20 finishes.

The Macon, Ga., native opened the NCAA Championships with solid rounds of 73-70. In the final round of medal play, Floyd recorded three double bogeys for a noncounting 78.

In the first round of match play, Floyd shot 71. His par at No. 12 gave him a 3-up lead over Kyle Scott. But when it appeared Floyd would lock up a win, Scott stole the victory with his 2-under finish on the final three holes.

Floyd walked off the course and told Gregory he didn't feel well. After Floyd was nipped by Scott at the end, Gregory thought Floyd was talking about the match.

When the team later ate at Bluewater Grille, Floyd started suffering flulike symptoms -- fever, chills, aches, nausea. Gregory's wife, Ashley, a nurse, spoke with a pharmacist, who called in a prescription.

Floyd awoke Saturday morning but didn't say a word. His Augusta State teammates were concerned for his health and worried about playing short-handed against Florida State.

"I was nervous because Taylor was not feeling well," Patrick Reed said. "I was just thinking we have four matches and we need to win three."

If Floyd couldn't make it to the tee, Augusta State would have forfeited the first point. The 20-year-old never had that thought in mind.

In the warm, humid weather, Floyd went out and won his first two holes against Wesley Graham. The effect of the illness was taking its toll, however. He walked slowly behind Graham throughout the round and took opportunities to bend over or kneel down.

"It's the worst I've ever felt in my life," Floyd told The Macon Telegraph . "I was dizzy, I couldn't see straight. I really thought I was going to have to quit, but it probably would have taken me fainting for that."

Floyd led 1 up at No. 11 when rain halted play for the second consecutive day.

While his teammates sat outside a covered table for lunch, Floyd used the break to take medicine and lie down. He grabbed a little lunch before heading out.

Gregory told him he didn't have to finish his final eight holes. The fighter in Floyd then came out.

"I wouldn't miss this for the world," he replied.

Carter Newman again clinched the first point with a 4 and 3 win over Michael Hebert. With Mitch Krywulycz losing his match and Henrik Norlander and Reed locked in close battles, Floyd had to come through.

Getting birdies at Nos. 14 and 15, he took a 2-up lead with three to play. Graham responded with a birdie at No. 17 to pull within one. Would another opponent make a late run at Floyd?

At the 18th tee, a dizzy Floyd blocked his drive off to the right. His ball clipped a tree but ended up in the fairway. After reaching the green in two, Floyd needed two putts to win his match. He rolled in the 15-foot birdie putt. The Jaguars led 2-1.

"I wasn't even sure if he'd be able to go," Gregory said. "He played his heart out not only to play but to win that match."

Before Reed won his match, 1 up, over Brooks Koepka, Norlander spun a lob wedge from 84 yards out back into the cup for an eagle at the par-5 17th to close out 2008 U.S. Amateur runner-up Drew Kittleson, 3 and 1.

Augusta State, a Division II program that plays Division I only in golf, would meet top-ranked Oklahoma State in the championship match.

The Cowboys, a team that finished first in medal play, sought their 11th national title.

"My kids will not be scared of Oklahoma State," Gregory said. "They know who they are. They know they're great. But it's a name: Oklahoma State."

After the Jaguars dispatched Florida State, Newman walked over to his close friend, Krywulycz, and spoke with an added sense of excitement in his voice.

"Tomorrow, we're playing for a national championship," Newman said.

Krywulycz showed no emotion. He looked at his pal and responded: "I expected to be here till Sunday. If we win tomorrow, I promise I'll be excited."

Through two days of match play, every Augusta State player had won a match except one: Krywulycz. That was about to change.

Day 6: Match play »


Taylor Floyd

Sophomore - Macon, Ga.

Stroke average: 73.24

Top-20 finishes: Five

NCAA Championships highlight: Battling flulike symptoms, Floyd rolled in a 15-foot putt at No. 18 to defeat Florida State's Wesley Graham, 2-up, in the semifinals.

TOURNAMENT FINISH SCORES

Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Inv. T41 70-80-76--226

Gary Koch Intercollegiate T24 73-69-73--215

Brickyard Collegiate Championship T5 71-70--141

UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate T53 76-74-74--224

Gifford Collegiate Championship T8 67-72-72--211

Seahawk Intercollegiate T18 74-75--149

General Hackler Championship T10 73-72-76--221

Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate T52 79-72-71--222

Administaff Augusta State Inv. T20 72-67-73--212

PING Cougar Classic T57 77-72-75--224

NCAA Southwest Regional T28 76-74-74--224

NCAA Championships* 72 73-70-78--221* Went 1-1-1 in match play at national championships


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