When Augusta State finished seventh in Saturday’s regional in Athens, Ga., the Jaguars ended their bid of winning a third consecutive national championship.
Augusta State returned this year minus all five starters off last season’s starting lineup. Making it back to the postseason was good, first-year coach Kevin McPherson said, but it wasn’t good enough.
Augusta State posted 7-over-par 291 to finish four shots behind fifth-place Iowa at the University of Georgia Golf Course. The top five teams advanced to the NCAA Championship later this month at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
“It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” McPherson said. “At the end of the season, we’re pleased with the year we had. But we’re all competitive. We want to be in Riviera.”
Alabama won the regional with a three-day total of 24-under 828. East Carolina finished second (853), followed by North Florida (858), Georgia (864) and Iowa (866).
Augusta State, which finished at 870, played catch-up after opening the regional in seventh place after the first round.
The Jaguars entered the final round in 10th place in the 13-team regional, four shots behind New Mexico for fifth. Augusta State shot 4-over on its first hole of the day – No. 10. The Jaguars then bounced back and pulled within two of fifth at the turn.
Augusta State trailed fifth place by two, with seniors Taylor Floyd and Brendan Gillins on their final two holes – Nos. 8 and 9.
Floyd double-bogeyed No. 8 after his tee shot hit some bricks adjacent to the green and scooted 40 yards past, while Gillins finished bogey-bogey. Floyd posted an even-par 71 to finish in a tie for eighth place, while Gillins added 75.
Alex Wennstam led Augusta State with 70. Derek Chang, who was 5-over through 13 holes, hit the wrong ball on No. 5 – his 14th hole – and took double bogey. He birdied three of the final four holes for a counting 75. Augusta State threw out Robin Petterson’s 77.
“A couple of shots here and there,” McPherson said. “One shot a man gives us a chance to make it to nationals.
“This time, it didn’t work out in our favor. I’m still proud of these guys.”