The giant killers

Augusta State's golf team wins NCAA title in David-vs.-Goliath fashion

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The only thing left now is the miniature golf national championship.

Don't put it past them.

Two months after the Augusta State University Jaguars quietly won the nascent and more whimsical National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship right here in the CSRA, the Jaguars' men's golf team Sunday captured an infinitely bigger prize: the NCAA Division I national golf championship.

If you throw in that first-week-in-April tournament, we've sure got golf covered in Augusta.

Coach Josh Gregory's guys had to battle illness, ignite some come-from-behind fireworks, and shrug off some big-school snobbery to notch this improbable Hoosiers -style victory against the biggest golf programs in the country -- including Georgia Tech, Florida State and, on Sunday in the title match, 10-time national champion Oklahoma State.

Can you imagine modest Augusta State University beating Georgia Tech, Florida State and Oklahoma State in basketball, or any other major sport?

This is why in everything else the Jags compete in NCAA Division II, but in golf they play in Division I.

Well, that, and because there isn't a higher division.

The Augusta Chronicle's website and local Facebook pages were crackling Sunday and Monday with congratulations for the Jags, who have brought home the school's first major sports national championship. And while banners were already going up on campus -- and the state was being asked to recognize the team on highway signs -- a more public celebration will have to wait, as this Cinderella team hasn't finished its chores: Player Henrik Norlander left first thing to play in the British Amateur, for instance.

OK. The confetti won't spoil over the summer. And when the feat is fêted this fall, there may be another addition to the team: Coach Gregory and his wife Ashley are expecting their first child in September.

Needless to say, Gregory is having a great year. But this will make it even greater: He's also been named national golf coach of the year.

We may also be seeing some of these guys someday soon on the PGA Tour.

Too bad we couldn't see them in all their glory this past weekend. While sports television networks gave us bowling, lacrosse, rugby, softball and more, they blew off the collegiate golf championships, and in the process missed the biggest sports story of the week, and one of the biggest of the year. They missed David beating Goliath with a swing-shot.

But Goliath's thud will never be forgotten in these parts.

Augusta is proud of you, ASU.

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sjgraci 06/08/10 - 12:13 am
Major victory yes. Major

Major victory yes. Major upset no. My alma mater has been building a respectable golf program to compete with and beat the best for some time now. Nice to know the rest of the golf world will now know they are the best. Congrats ASU.

Riverman1 06/08/10 - 08:14 am
ASU competing and winning at

ASU competing and winning at this level is amazing. They have had many top five finishes and this crowns them finally. Augusta just continues to add to its resume as the golf capital of the world with Lakeside High School being state champions, ASU NATIONAL D-1 CHAMPS and, of course, our yearly tournament that gets a little attention. (Didn't want to infringe on their trademark or something and actually say their name :)

joebowles 06/08/10 - 10:06 am
SJGRACI, You are right on

SJGRACI, You are right on track. I remember playing against ASU in a tournament at Kiawah Island in Dec 1989. At that point they had players like John Sheehan, Trip Bowden and others that had plenty of skill and could compete with any team in the US. Hopefully now, ASU will be respected for the Powerhouse they are and have been for sometime.

Riverman1 06/08/10 - 08:45 pm
Come on, Joe, we all know

Come on, Joe, we all know that. The thing is to play this up big and show our appreciation for the victory.

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