Seedings, Augusta State golf coach Kevin McPherson said, matter little.
The two-time defending national champion Jaguars are back in postseason play. For the 13-team NCAA Southeast Regional, Augusta State is seeded eighth.
“That’s just a number,” McPherson said. “We’re here. I don’t care if we’re 1 or 13.”
The Jaguars open postseason play at 8:50 a.m. today at the University of Georgia Course in Athens, Ga. The 54-hole regional runs through Saturday.
Augusta State is trying to qualify for the NCAA Division I Championship. The top five squads at the end of regional play advance to the nationals, May 29-June 3, at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
On a whim, Augusta State traveled a few weeks back to Athens to play the course. The Jaguars’ advance trip gave the team an extra practice round – and an opportunity to know what they need to practice.
Augusta State is playing its first competition since losing a playoff to top-ranked Texas, on April 1, at Forest Hills Golf Club. McPherson gave his players two weeks off, and the Jaguars used the time to recharge and focus on their studies.
“It’s almost like starting a new season,” he said. “All the guys are itching to play.”
McPherson said his Nos. 4 and 5 players in the lineup (Alex Wennstam and Derek Chang) are now playing as well as the team’s top three players – senior Taylor Floyd, who owns a 73.2 stroke average, freshman Robin Petterson (73.9) and Brendan Gillins (74.2).
“We’re more ready now than we have been,” McPherson said. “Hopefully, they’ll all compete for co-medalist honors.”
After winning the past two national titles, Augusta State lost all but Floyd, a starter in the 2010 lineup. This season, the Jaguars have played one of the nation’s toughest schedules – rated 13th by Golfweek – posting two runner-up finishes, while also finishing 10th or worse four times. The tournament showings, like seedings, are now irrelevant.
“One of our biggest goals was to make it to postseason,” McPherson said. “Anything can happen from there.”