Jaguars players, coach went out in glorious style

DAY 6: Finals, match play

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Sunday marked leaving day for everyone. The four seniors and Patrick Reed, a junior, would tee it up one final time. And coach Josh Gregory would mark his last day in an Augusta State uniform.

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The Augusta State men's golf team, from left, assistant coach Kevin McPherson, Mitchell Krywulycz, Carter Newman, head coach Josh Gregory, Olle Bengtsson, Patrick Reed and Henrik Norlander, celebrate their second-consecutive national championship at Karsten Creek Golf Course.  NATE BILLINGS/THE OKLAHOMAN
NATE BILLINGS/THE OKLAHOMAN
The Augusta State men's golf team, from left, assistant coach Kevin McPherson, Mitchell Krywulycz, Carter Newman, head coach Josh Gregory, Olle Bengtsson, Patrick Reed and Henrik Norlander, celebrate their second-consecutive national championship at Karsten Creek Golf Course.

Before the NCAA Championship, the ninth-year coach told his players of his decision to accept the head coaching job at Southern Methodist University, his alma mater. When he awoke Sunday morning, Gregory looked at his wife, Ashley.

"This is the last day for all of us," he told her. "This is how we want to go out. This group belongs going out this way, whether it's win or lose."

Gregory knew the historical significance of the championship matchup between little Augusta State, a Division II school that plays Division I solely in golf, and the University of Georgia.

A victory would show the naysayers the first national title wasn't a fluke. A win would also make the Jaguars the first team to win consecutive national titles since Houston in 1984-85.

After opening with a pair of 3-2 wins over Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals and semifinals, the final day would be no less dramatic. On the 10-minute bus ride to the course, Carter Newman joked with his teammates that he didn't want to have to be the hero again.

Georgia's Bryden MacPherson defeated Olle Bengtsson, 6 and 4, to give his team the first point. Newman responded, winning the first two holes with bogeys against T.J. Mitchell, building a 5-up lead and closing out Mitchell, 7 and 5.

The Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead when Russell Henley stopped Henrik Norlander on the 16th hole. Meanwhile, Mitch Krywulycz hit his second shot into the water at No. 17, but he got up and down for bogey for a 2 and 1 win over Georgia's Hudson Swafford. It all came down to Reed, who savored every second of the spotlight.

A three-time American Junior Golf Association All-American, Reed enrolled at Georgia and played his freshman semester with the Bulldogs.

After a pair of off-course incidents, Reed decided to find a new school where he could focus on golf.

Because his father's job in the medical field moved the Reeds to Evans in 2007, Patrick transferred back home for the 2009-2010 season, a decision that paid dividends for him and the Jaguars.

Reed earned All-American honors in two seasons with the Jaguars and set the school's career scoring record of 71.33.

His finest play at Augusta State came during the 2011 NCAA Championship. He shot 1-under-par and tied for third after three rounds of stroke play. He then knocked off his first two opponents to improve to 5-0 in two years of NCAA match play.

Against Harris English, Reed shot 1-under on the front nine and then went 1-up when English double bogeyed No. 10. Reed later got up and down from 41 yards out at No. 13, punching underneath a tree limb to five feet. The par gave him a 2-up lead.

At No. 17, English found water on his approach. He later missed a 30-foot bogey putt. It was enough of a cushion to allow Reed to hit his third shot from the rough through the green, just short of the water. Reed pitched back to seven feet, needing two putts for the win. He lagged to within a foot, and English conceded.

For the second year in a row, Augusta State celebrated on the course. Newman walked down the 18 fairway to the clubhouse. He was offered a cart ride back, but he declined, preferring to "bask in the glory."

While the Jaguars soaked in another championship, they knew it was different. Everyone was set to begin new chapters in their lives.

Reed departed right after the awards ceremony to participate in his first PGA Tour event as a professional in Memphis, Tenn. Norlander prepared to play in the Palmer Cup before embarking on a pro career in Europe. Krywulycz and Newman planned to start their pro careers on the eGolf Tour two weeks later. And Gregory prepared to transition to his new job.

When the team returned home, more than 60 people waited at the airport. Hundreds more were at Julian Smith Casino for the Jaguars' arrival.

Bengtsson, Krywulycz, Newman, Norlander, Reed and Gregory left behind quite a legacy.

"There's no city, there's no university that appreciates golf like the city of Augusta, and appreciates a national championship," Gregory said.

"I hope this happens again for Augusta State, but odds are this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal to win two in a row. It may never happen again. They are seeing history. And I can promise you they will appreciate it more than any other place."

DAY 6: Finals, match play

June 5, 2011 - Karsten Creek Golf Club - Stillwater, Okla. - 7,416 yards, par 72

Match 1
5-seed vs. 5-seed
Bryden MacPherson (Georgia) defeats Olle Bengtsson (ASU), 6 & 4

Match 2
4-seed vs. 4-seed
Carter Newman (ASU) defeats T.J. Mitchell (Georgia),  7 & 5

Match 3
3-seed vs. 3-seed
Mitch Krywulycz (ASU) defeats Hudson Swafford (Georgia), 2 & 1

Match 4
2-seed vs. 2-seed
Russell Henley (Georgia) defeats Henrik Norlander (ASU), 3 & 2

Match 5
1-seed vs. 1-seed
Patrick Reed (ASU) defeats Harris English (Georgia), 2 & 1

 WonLost
Augusta State (7)32
Georgia (5)23

Augusta State wins its second consecutive national championship.

Live Updates

How Augusta State's victory was first reported via Twitter:

AUG_ChrisGay: Reed pitches thru the green. Ball is sitting up. He needs to get down in 2, maybe 3 for the #AugustaState win.

AUG_ChrisGay: Reed to 8 ft.

AUG_ChrisGay: Must make for harris.

AUG_ChrisGay: Reed two putts for the ASU win.

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