Originally created 04/03/00

Jaguars claim home-turf victory



As a member of the Augusta State golf team, junior Robert Duck had never lost his home tournament.

Sunday was no different.

On the strength of Michael Webb's 4-under 68, the No. 12-ranked Jaguars shot a final-round, even-par 288 for a 10-under 854 to win the 22nd annual Cleveland Golf/Augusta State University Invitational at Forest Hills Golf Course by three shots over No. 18 Duke, No. 20 N.C. State and No. 23 Texas.

"Winning never gets old," Duck said. "The special thing here is all the support we get. All the parents, the AGA (Augusta Golf Association), the professors from school. It's a great thing."

In individual competition, Wofford's William McGirt fired a third straight 69 for a 9-under-par 207 total to win by two strokes over the College of Charleston's Jedd McLuen (72) and Texas' Matt Brost (69). McGirt tied the record for lowest 54-hole total held by Southeastern Louisiana's Sean Halloran (1991) and Florida State's Christian Raynor (1995).

"I just tried to stay patient and hit every fairway, every green," McGirt said. "I tried not to get greedy and aim at the pin."

McGirt trailed by one shot entering the final round but started his round on the No. 10 tee and quickly birdied two of his first three holes. After a bogey on the par-3 13th hole, the Wofford junior made birdies on Nos. 18 and 8.

Augusta led by three strokes after two rounds and appeared to wrap up the tournament after nine holes. However, the Jaguars struggled right after the turn. Augusta State had three bogeys and a double bogey on the dogleg left par-4 12th hole, and suddenly the tournament was wide open.

"We made the turn and everybody else was pretty comfortable," Jaguar coach Jay Seawell said. "But there were a lot of good teams behind us. We slipped up on (No.) 12. But to the guys' credit, they hung in there."

"It got a little too close for comfort," Duck said. "We were cruising there for a bit. It got a little bit nervy playing down the stretch."

Webb was 3-under through nine holes, before bogeying No. 12. However, he stuck a 9-iron to within three inches on the 145-yard, par-3 13th. He closed his round with a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

"I saw coach's expression (on No. 16) and knew it was close," Webb said. "The (putt) on 18 was real important."

Three of the first five Jaguars finished the 290-yard, par-4 18th with a birdie. Duck followed with a par, and Jamie Elson clinched the win with a tap-in par.

The win was Augusta's second in two weeks as the Jaguars have played four tournaments in the past three weeks.

"I think we're starting to get better," Seawell said. "They deserve a week off, and they'll get one."

Elson shot a 73 to finish in fourth place with a 210, while Duck carded a 72 for a 212 and a sixth-place finish. Webb finished at 218, while Oliver Wilson ended with a 75 for a 219 and Jack Doherty had a 76 for a 223. Playing as an individual, Jay Haas Jr. shot a 68 for a 218.

Furman's Brian Scurlock shot a 73 for a 217 to lead a group of former local golfers, which included Wake Forest's Cortland Lowe (75) at 223 and Furman's David Sligh (76) at 227.

Former Augusta State golf coach Jim Kelson watched his Tennessee team shoot a 289 to finish in fifth place at 862. Florida State coach Ernie Lanford, another former Jaguar golf coach, saw his team finish with a 293 to finish at 891.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222 or cag112@hotmail.com.