Augusta State men’s golf coach Kevin McPherson is still living on hope.
After faltering in their past event, the Jaguars enter this weekend’s home tournament needing a high finish just to keep their postseason dreams alive.
“We certainly play well at home,” McPherson said. “If we do as well as we expect, we have a chance to win. Then it’s just a matter of using that last day of competition.”
The Jaguars play host to the Insperity Augusta State Invitational with 36 holes today at Forest Hills Golf Club. The final round will be held Sunday.
Eleven of the 15 teams in the field, including No. 4 Texas, No. 14 Georgia and No. 16 SMU, are ranked in the top 40 in Division I. USC Aiken, the lone non-Division I team in the field, is ranked third in Division II.
Augusta State, a runner-up to Texas last year in its home event, is 15 wins under .500 – the prerequisite for making postseason play – and can pick up just 13 wins with a victory. The Jaguars have one more day of competition left and can add another 36-hole event to try to pick up more wins. But adding another event is a moot point if the team doesn’t win or finish around the top.
“Obviously, if we finish 10th or so in this event there’s no point in playing that one-day event,” McPherson said. “I think we’ll do well, but we know it’s going to be tough.”
After a rough fall, Augusta State won a one-day event at Forest Hills in late February and then followed with a win at USC Aiken’s tournament. But two weeks ago at the wet and windy Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate, the Jaguars placed 12th among 15 teams – suffering a major blow to their chances of making the NCAA regionals.
Now, Maverick Antcliff, Derek Chang, Robin Petersson, Alex Wennstam and Cody Shafer will try to keep Augusta State’s hopes alive. The Jaguars got a major boost in the spring with the addition of Antcliff, a freshman who has recorded three top-20 finishes in his four events and leads the team with a 72.6 scoring average.
“The first three events he played to his potential and played extremely well,” McPherson said. “He’s had a huge impact.”