Jags have national title hopes in golf

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Augusta State men's golf coach Josh Gregory has one specific team goal for this spring -- win.

Patrick Reed posted two top-10 finishes in the fall and had a 71.75 average for the Jags.   FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Patrick Reed posted two top-10 finishes in the fall and had a 71.75 average for the Jags.

After claiming one of five fall tournaments, the Jaguars are ranked fifth (according to Golfweek) in Division I. Gregory said his team needs to prove it deserves to be among the likes of top-ranked Oklahoma State, Stanford and Florida.

"The mind-set this spring is to get some more wins," he said. "To be among the elite programs, you need to win multiple times."

Augusta State will go after its second win when it opens its slate of five spring events today in the Seahawk Intercollegiate at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C. The 54-hole event runs through Tuesday.

The Jaguars are looking to continue where they left off in the fall. After winning the rain-shortened Brickyard Intercollegiate, Augusta State finished fourth at the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate and third at the Gifford Collegiate Championship.

The strong finish to the fall came after the team opened with showings of 10th and sixth.

"It didn't start out on the best of notes," Gregory said. "But we really turned it around.

"It was a pretty darn good fall."

Some of the Jaguars' success can be attributed to the insertion of Patrick Reed into the lineup. The sophomore golfer, who transferred from Georgia after last season, was held out of the first two fall events because of a coach's decision, said Gregory, who also noted that Reed started the fall not playing well.

In three events, Reed posted two top-10 finishes and finished with a 71.75 stroke average. He also won the Jones Cup, a prestigious amateur event, last month.

Junior Henrik Norlander led Augusta State with a 71.25 stroke average and posted four top-15 finishes, including three top-six showings.

Norlander and Reed, along with Taylor Floyd (72.64), Carter Newman (72.93) and Jake Amos (75.67), comprise the starting lineup for this week's event. Mitch Krywulycz (72.14) will play as an individual.

"We're in a good position," Gregory said. I feel like this is the first time we have five guys capable of winning a tournament."

All five players qualified for the starting lineup through a team match play event won by Newman. Gregory said he hopes to finalize his starting five by the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate later this month.

The ultimate goal for the Jaguars is to make the NCAA Regionals (May 20-22) and then the NCAA Championships (June 1-5).

Gregory said Augusta State is equipped to make a run at a first national title if his team can make the Division I finals -- the top eight teams after 54 holes of medal play advance to match play.

"With the way the NCAAs are now with the opportunity to go into match play," Gregory said, "if we can get there, we'll have a good chance."

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