Taylor Floyd preferred to be in California this week. Instead, he’s moved on to Plan B.
The former Augusta State golfer is making his professional debut Thursday at the NGA Tour stop in Hawkinsville, Ga. Floyd, a member of the Jaguars’ past two national title teams, will begin play the same day as the NCAA Division I Championships match play quarterfinals will take place at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
“I knew I was going to turn pro as soon as the college season ended,” he said. “I was hoping to be in L.A. this week with my team.”
The 22-year-old Floyd wrapped up his Augusta State career on a high note. While the Jaguars finished seventh in the NCAA Athens Regional and missed advancing to the NCAA Championships by four shots, he tied for eighth for his third top-10 finish in his past four events.
Floyd, who finished his Augusta State career with two wins and a 73.42 stroke average (which ranks ninth in school history, fifth among four-year players), said his game is starting to come around.
“I’ve had a pretty good spring,” he said. “It’s nice to finish it off well.”
Floyd played a key role in Augusta State’s 2010 national championship run. He overcame flu-like symptoms to give his teammates an inspirational boost, defeating Florida State’s Wesley Graham, 2 up, in the match play semifinals. The Jaguars defeated the Seminoles, 4-1, to advance to the final match against Oklahoma State.
It appeared the championship would come down to Floyd’s match against Trent Whitekiller. Augusta State led 2-1 with Mitch Krywulycz down 4 holes to Kevin Tway with six to play. While Krywulycz rallied to send his match into sudden death, Floyd hit his approach to 35 feet on the par-5 17th hole. Before facing an eagle putt for a 1-up lead over Whitekiller, Floyd looked through the trees at the adjacent first green. Krywulycz parred the hole to clinch the match.
Floyd dropped his putter and looked at coach Josh Gregory. The two embraced on the green.
“Neither one of us knew what to say,” Floyd said.
Floyd doesn’t know what to say about this week either. He’s played Southern Hills Golf Club in Hawkinsville once before in high school.
“I don’t really have any expectations,” he said. “I just want to learn from the experience. If I play good golf, I do. If not, I’ll have a pro tournament under my belt.”
Floyd, a criminal justice major, is taking two online courses this summer. He said he plans to play in some eGolf Tour events, but he hasn’t yet figured out his schedule.
In the fall, he’ll have 16 hours remaining – five regular classes, along with a wellness class – to graduate. Floyd said he’d like to go through PGA Tour Q-School, but he said college takes priority.
“Finishing my degree is No. 1 right now,” he said.