Jaguar golfers ride in style

The 2010 arctic white, 12-seat, $54,000 Mercedes-Benz van will help Augusta State's golfers be more comfortable on long trips while helping recruiting for the men's and women's programs. The van's maiden voyage would be to Tennessee if the men make the NCAA Championships.

Josh Gregory called it a pipe dream.

The Augusta State director of golf mentioned upgrading his program's transportation in passing two weeks ago to Jaguar supporters Nick Evans and Fleming Norvell. On Friday morning, Ed Luckey, the general manager of Mercedes-Benz of Augusta, handed Gregory the keys to a customized 2010 Sprinter van.

"It's just too good to be true," Gregory said. "I'm not really sure why it happened, but I'm sure thankful for it."

The roomy 12-seat arctic white van is adorned with Augusta State logos,. It features eight entertainment systems and is valued at $54,000. Luckey said he wanted to give back to the community by helping one of the nation's premier collegiate golf programs.

"I really wanted to make a donation that would make a difference," he said. "For recruiting purposes and safe travel, I felt like this was something we could do."

Gregory, whose fifth-ranked men's team begins play Thursday in the NCAA Division I Regional in San Diego, said the van will help the men's and women's program in recruiting.

The van also will help the school's golfers be more comfortable on long trips.

"It's pretty remarkable we'd get something like this," said Augusta State junior Henrik Norlander. "It's got a lot of space. In the old car, we had to stock bags in between the seats."

If Augusta State finishes fifth or better in its regional, the Jaguars will take their first out-of-town trip in their new van to Ooltewah, Tenn., for the NCAA Championships, June 1-6.

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