Augusta State University women's golf coach Trelle McCombs called Wednesday afternoon a huge step forward.
The Lady Jaguars received their first title sponsor for their annual home tournament, a sign the program is continuing to progress. Augusta State will play host to the America's Choice Mortgage Lady Jaguar Invitational in November at Forest Hills Golf Club.
"We're still so young and so small," McCombs said. "We have to establish relationships."
The fifth-year program held its first home golf tournament without a main sponsor in 2004. McCombs said it cost about $17,000 to put on the event.
Some of the expenses for the tournament included three rounds of golf, meals and prizes for the 14 teams.
"I feel like we gave a top-quality tournament last year," McCombs said.
McCombs said the event should improve in the near future with the donation from James C. Young, the owner of America's Choice Mortgage and an Augusta State alumnus. He committed $10,000 for the tournament this year and will give a total of $45,000 for three years.
"Title sponsorship is a big, big thing in women's golf," Augusta State athletic director Clint Bryant said. "We're very proud of where the women's golf program has come in a short amount of time."
Young said he decided to help the women's team because it is not as established as the men's team.
"I think the women's team is very good," Young said. "With a little help, they can be up there with the men."
McCombs said the added money will help Augusta State give back the teams in the field their entry fee and help them pay for housing. She said those incentives will help better the field of future tournaments.
Another improvement to the upcoming Lady Jaguar tournament will be the addition of a $2,500 live scoreboard.
The Augusta State women opened the 2005-06 season with a tie for second at the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate Sept. 20 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Sophomore Garrett Phillips recorded a 3-under-par 213 total for a five-shot victory.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or email@example.com.