Jaguars reach match play

Norlander finishes four back in medalist race
Carter Newman (back) is hugged by coach Josh Gregory after the Jags clinched a match play spot. Augusta State will play Georgia Tech today.

 

OOLTEWAH, Tenn. --- As play wrapped up Thursday afternoon, a teary-eyed Josh Gregory wrapped his arms around Carter Newman for an emotional bear hug.

After Newman recorded his finest round of the tournament, 1-over-par 73, Gregory told him how proud he was of him.

The Jaguar junior golfer responded: "This one's for you, coach."

Newman and Patrick Reed each rebounded in the NCAA Division I Golf Championships to help No. 5 Augusta State advance out of medal play at The Honors Course.

With their even-par 288, the Jaguars finished in sixth place at 1-under-par 863. Augusta State locked up one of eight spots in today's match play. The Jaguars will face in-state rival Georgia Tech, which shot 286 for an 858 total.

"Just give me a tee time on Friday," Gregory said. "That's what I've been saying all week. I like this team in match play."

Oklahoma State carded 283 to finish as the top team at 850, besting Florida State (292) by four shots. Washington and Oregon each shot 283 to finish in fourth (860) and fifth (861), respectively, while Texas Tech (280) moved up 12 spots to finish seventh (867).

Match play tee times will be determined this morning after Stanford, Arizona State and San Diego play a sudden-death playoff for the eighth seed at 8 a.m. after tying at 868.

In the individual competition, Scott Langley, of Illinois, closed with 68 to finish at 10-under-par 206 for a two-shot victory. After opening with rounds of 68-69, Augusta State's Henrik Norlander began the day two shots off the lead. The junior from Sweden struggled with his driver all day and bogeyed the final hole to shoot 73 and finish fifth, four shots behind Langley. San Diego's Alex Ching (73) and Oklahoma State's Peter Uihlein (71) tied for second.

"I hit it left, right, left, right off the tee all day," Norlander said. "I was in the rough all day. It's impossible to shoot 70 when you do that."

With Norlander steady all week, Augusta State finally got help from Newman and Reed -- each of whom had yet to turn in a score better than 74.

In the final round, Reed carded 70. Mitch Krywulycz posted 72. Taylor Floyd had a non- counting 78.

Before the two went off first for Augusta State and helped set the tone, Reed turned to Newman.

"It's time for us to carry the team." Reed said. "They've been carrying us the past two days. It's our turn to strap them on our backs."

After opening with a non-counting 77, Newman recorded his worst score of the season (83) on Wednesday. He started his third round 3-over through seven holes. Then, he knocked his approach to two feet for birdie at the par-3 eighth. He remained steady on his round when he walked off No. 16, where he learned the team needed his score.

At the par-5 17th hole, Newman hit "the shot of my life," he said. From 260 yards out, Newman striped a 3-wood to the back of the green. The ball caught the slope and rolled back to within 3 feet of the pin. Newman, who grew up in Evans, calmly rolled in the slick, downhill putt for eagle to get to even par.

"It felt amazing to be able to hit that shot and to know that it counted and we needed it," said Newman, who closed with bogey. "It hasn't been a good week, and I just had to do everything I could to try and count and shoot as low as I could."

"That was huge round for him today," Krywulycz said. "It took a lot of guts to come back from what happened to him yesterday."

Reed, who opened with 74-75, started the day getting up-and-down for par the first three holes. He rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 4 -- the first time he's been under par all week. Reed stood at 1-under on his round when got to the tee at the par-3 16th, where he drained a 15-foot birdie.

"After those first two days, I didn't know what to expect," Reed said. "Today, I tried not to overpower the golf course, and I hit almost every fairway. From the fairway, this course gets a lot easier."

FOLLOW staff writer Chris Gay's coverage of Augusta State in the NCAA Tournament on Twitter @AUG_ChrisGay.


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