Jags stun Pokes to return to final

STILLWATER, Okla. --- The starter announced Patrick Reed in the final pairing of the day, and his parents cheered.

Then, Peter Uihlein stepped up and received a wild ovation from the throng of orange-clad Oklahoma State fans. Reed smiled and turned toward assistant coach Kevin McPherson.

"Am I playing football right now?" Reed asked. "I was never around something like this where I was such a big underdog."

Thousands of Cowboys fans came out to watch their top-ranked team try to avenge last season's national championship defeat to Augusta State. Instead, the Oklahoma State fans left the Cowboys' home course stunned.

Reed mowed down Uihlein, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion before teammate Henrik Norlander knocked off Kevin Tway. Then, Carter Newman rolled in three throat-tightening putts at the end to shock Sean Einhaus with a 19-hole win. Newman's point gave Augusta State a 3-2 victory over heavily-favored Oklahoma State in the NCAA Division I Championship at Karsten Creek Golf Club.

The defending national champion Jaguars advanced back to the title match. Coach Josh Gregory said Saturday's semifinal victory over the Cowboys just validates the greatness of his program.

"That win last year wasn't a fluke," he said. "To beat them on their home track in front of all those fans is remarkable. This will be something these kids will take with them forever."

Augusta State now will face Georgia in the championship match, starting at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs pulled out a tight 3-2 win over Duke in their semifinal.

The four Jaguar seniors and Reed, a junior who's turning pro Monday, will tee it up as collegians one final time. Augusta State will try to make history and become the first team to win back-to-back titles since Houston in 1984-85.

"It's going to be fun. I love the (Georgia) guys. Great group of guys," said Reed, who transferred from Georgia to Augusta State after his freshman year. "We just have to make sure we stick to our game plan. If we do that, we'll be in the same situation we were last year hopefully."

In 2010, Augusta State found itself battling Oklahoma State for the nation's top prize.

For the second year in a row, Reed blistered Uihlein, the world's top-ranked amateur, from the start en route to an 8 and 7 blowout. Norlander then knocked out Tway, the world No. 3 amateur, 3 and 1. Mitch Krywulycz rallied from a 3-down deficit with four to play against world No. 8 Morgan Hoffman, eventually losing at 18, 1-down. In the opening match, Oklahoma State's Talor Gooch notched an 8 and 7 win over Olle Bengtsson.

It all came down to Newman.

At No. 16, Newman pulled his tee shot into the left rough. Instead of punching out, he tried to reach the green in two to try to win the hole and go 2-up. When Newman struck his second shot, the rough grabbed his iron and sent his ball into the trees left. The mistake allowed Einhaus to win the hole with a bogey to even the match.

Newman, who leads Augusta State in driving accuracy, missed the fairway at No. 17 and then hit his lay up into the rough. Einhaus reached the green in two, leaving himself two putts for par.

When Gregory learned of Newman's troubles at 16, he sent McPherson a text. McPherson, who's walked with Reed all week, was done early. He now hurried to get to Newman at 17.

From 103 yards out, Newman hit a sand wedge 30 feet past the pin, leaving himself a tricky downhill putt with a foot break from left to right. Newman asked McPherson to give him a read.

As the ball dropped, Newman screamed in celebration, as did the smattering of Augusta State players and fans around the green. The putt quieted the Oklahoma State fans.

"The crowds had been loud for him," Newman said. "I kind of wanted to give them something to hush up about."

On No. 18, Einhaus got up and down from the front bunker. Newman chipped up from 30 yards out to five feet. Facing a putt to extend Augusta State's season, Newman drilled the five-foot birdie in the center.

At the par-5 14th -- the first sudden-death hole -- Newman faced another 30-yard chip. He hit it to six feet. Einhaus then chunked his third from the rough before almost holing his fourth shot. Einhaus dropped a seven-foot par putt.

Newman stepped up and eyed a similar putt to one he missed earlier in the day at 14. The first time he played the hole, he aimed outside the right edge and the putt lipped out. This time, he aimed inside the right edge and it fell.

"I don't know how I did it today, I really don't," said Newman, who improved to 4-1 in match play in the NCAA Championship and avenged last year's defeat to Einhaus.

Reed shot 31 on the front nine, with birdies at Nos. 6-9 for a 6-up advantage.

"What can you say about Patrick?" Norlander said. "He's the best amateur in the world at the moment. If he just plays and stays patience, no one can beat him. He beat the U.S. Amateur champion, 8 and 7. That doesn't happen. He's so freaking good it's not even funny."

Norlander shot 4-under on the day through 17 holes. He went 2-up on Tway with a kick-in birdie at No. 11. On the next hole, Norlander hit a sand wedge to eight feet for another birdie and a 3-up lead.

Reed to begin pro career next week
Excitement builds at Jaguars' home golf course
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