Augusta State’s players knew coming into their home event what was at stake.
After winning the past two NCAA Division I national championships, the rebuilding Jaguars faced the cold reality of possibly missing postseason play. In their final regular season event, they had to finish sixth or better to qualify for the regionals.
Augusta State did that and more.
The Jaguars charged late to force a playoff Sunday with No. 1 Texas at Forest Hills Golf Club. Jordan Spieth tapped in for birdie on the second playoff hole to deliver the win for the Longhorns in the Augusta State Invitational.
“We just took on the top team in the country and contended with them stroke for stroke,” Augusta State senior Brendan Gillins said. “That says a lot.”
The Jaguars shot 8-under on the final three holes to make up a four-shot deficit and match Texas at 26-under-par 838. Longhorns senior Dylan Frittelli missed a four-foot par putt on the final hole of regulation that would’ve wrapped up the team competition.
While Frittelli bogeyed No. 18, Texas Christian’s Julien Brun blasted out of the front greenside bunker 40 yards away and two-putted for par to finish as medalist with 69 and a 14-under-par 202 total. Fritelli shot 68 and finished one shot back for his fourth runner-up finish of the season. Gillins and teammate Taylor Floyd each finished third at 11-under.
Gillins hit 17 of 18 fairways and played the final 10 holes in 7-under-par fashion for a closing 66. At No. 16, he rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt. At the par-5 17th, he made a 30-foot eagle putt.
Behind Gillins, Floyd birdied No. 17 and then just missed his eagle attempt at No. 18 to finish with 71.
Robin Petersson added 69 for Augusta State, while Derek Chang shot 73.
“All the guys, I’m very proud of them,” McPherson said. “It’s a small victory that we lost in a playoff by inches.”
In the playoff, each team shot 2-under on the first extra hole, the par-5 ninth. Playing No. 9 again, Augusta State shot 1-under on Floyd’s birdie. Frittelli and Spieth each birdied the hole to secure Texas’ sixth win of the season.