Those close to Augusta State golf coach Jay Seawell say he's devastated by his Jaguars' season-ending performance at the NCAA East Regionals last weekend. Seawell says he's doing his best to give off his best face.
But after touting all season that his 12th-ranked Jaguars could play golf with the nation's best, Seawell is finding it difficult to maintain that confidence after ASU failed to advance to the national championships, missing the cut by a whopping 13 shots.
"I thought the way the course in Alabama set up for us, we could have made some noise there," Seawell said Monday. "That's all hindsight now, all wishful thinking."
The Jaguars' ended their best season by digging themselves a first-day regional hole from which they could not recover. Their 16th-place finish meant that it's the first time in five years that ASU will not challenge for the national title.
Seawell searched Monday for reasons why. Varying temperatures, windy conditions and a difficult track all combined for the faulty showing at Glenmaura National Golf Club in Moosic, Pa.
"The average golfer probably couldn't have broken 100 there," Seawell said. "But that's no excuse, because all the other teams had to face the same conditions."
Indicative of the team's struggle was Michael Webb's 18th hole Thursday.
After driving into the fairway, Webb faced a 110-yard shot to an island green. He hit his shot fat and into the water. Over to the drop spot Webb went, where he chunked two more wet to card a 10 on the par-4.
Then on Saturday, Webb's round began with a triple-bogey 7, a birdie 2, a quintuple-bogey 9, and a birdie 3.
"This is not about blaming anyone, because the whole team struggled," Seawell said.
Adding to the difficulty was the sagging confidence and play of junior Robert Duck. The Palmer Cup player and team co-captain carded consecutive rounds of 95 and 91, the highest two scores of his Augusta State career.
"I compare it to what Mark Wohlers went through," Seawell said of Duck. "On the range and on the golf course with no pressure, he's fine. But right now he's struggling with his confidence. One bad shot and it all starts rolling downhill. He's just having trouble taking the club back."
To Duck's credit, he shot a 76 on Saturday after working almost four hours on the practice range. Seawell called Duck's final round "gutsy."
There is some optimism, though. Freshman Oliver Watson continued his emergence with a tie for 10th overall. And with Jamie Elson getting a year older, and with Jay Haas Jr. continuing to improve, Seawell believes there is a strong nucleus for next season.
"Still, there some holes on this team now that weren't there before," Seawell said. "Robert needs to find his game again. Jayce Stepp had a poor semester for us.
"I still believe in the guys, but right now we've got some holes to fill that I didn't believe we'd have at this point," he said.