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Lady Jaguars earn back-to-back regional berths for first time

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Augusta State women’s golf coach Kory McPherson said she was pretty sure, but she didn’t get excited until she received the news late Monday night.

The Lady Jaguars are back in postseason play as an at-large team in the NCAA East Regional, to be held May 10-12 at Penn State Golf Courses (Blue Course) in State Col­lege, Pa.

“I was 95 percent sure, but you never want to count on it before it happens,” Thompson said. “I’m looking forward to it. The girls are really excited.”

Augusta State, a No. 19 seed in the 24-team regional, qualified for the regionals for the third time in the program’s history. This marks the first time the Lady Jaguars have made postseason play in consecutive seasons.

With the lineup of Nata­lie Wille, Kirsty Rands, Chris­tine Duschek-Hansen, Casey Kennedy and Marit Bjerke, Augusta State is one of 72 teams at three regional sites looking to advance to the NCAA Championships, to be held May 22-25 in Jackson, Tenn. The top eight teams (plus two individuals not on a qualifying team) will advance.

“You’ve got to play good golf,” Thompson said. “That’s all there is to it. You can’t look at who’s on the field. You just have to focus on your game.”

Augusta State ended the fall on a sour note after getting disqualified from The Challenge at Onion Creek after two players failed to sign their scorecards. The Lady Jaguars would’ve placed third. Instead, the finish knocked them down about 30 spots to No. 83 in the Golfstat head-to-head poll.

Augusta State rebounded with a strong spring, with a win at the Kiawah Island Classic and a second-place finish at its home event. The Lady Jaguars entered Monday ranked 55th.

“After that event in the fall, we said we had to play some good golf in the spring,” Thompson said. “We didn’t want a committee picking us. We wanted to play our way in. That’s what we did.”


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