Augusta State captured the first National Championship in school
history Sunday afternoon when the Jaguars took down Oklahoma State
3-1-1 in the championship match of the 112th NCAA Championships at
The Honors Course just outside Chattanooga.
The national title is the first for the Jaguars in any of its 11 university-sponsored, varsity sports. With the victory, ASU defeated the No. 3 seed (Georgia Tech), the No. 2 seed (Florida State) and the No. 1 seed (Oklahoma State).
"It means everything. It is a dream come true," said Jaguar head coach Josh Gregory, who, as a junior at SMU, played in the 1996 NCAA Championships at The Honors Course. "It has validated the success of the coaches (that came) before me and the players before them. I can promise you that there is no university or golf program that will appreciate a national championship as much as Augusta State. College golf means something to Augusta, Ga."
Mitch Krywulycz's match proved to be the deciding point, as he battled back from an early 4-down deficit to Oklahoma State's Kevin Tway. After Krywulycz cut his deficit to 3-down on the 10th hole, Tway won the 11th to go 4- up.
A junior from Sylvania, Australia, Krywulycz then responded by winning four consecutive holes -- the last three with birdies. He pulled even with Tway when he drained an 18-footer for birdie on the par-four 15th.
The final three holes were halved with pars, sending the match to extra holes. On the par-four, 405-yard first hole of the playoff, both players' drives found the fairway and each hit their approaches within 20 feet. Krywulycz putted first, leaving his birdie effort just short and Tway conceded his par putt. Tway's birdie effort from 18 feet rolled past the cup nearly five feet, and his return putt for par slid past the left side of the cup.
With the miss, Krywulycz completed his dramatic comeback and gave the Jags the deciding point that clinched the National Championship and set off an ASU celebration.
"I felt like I was actually back in the match," said Krywulycz, who redshirted during the 2008-09 season. "Once we got to the 16th tee, I knew it was getting pretty real and I was back in this and it was on. I knew the greens were quick and no putt would be fun the last couple holes. I was playing pretty horrible throughout three quarters of the round. I waited for it to turn and it finally did."
Junior Henrik Norlander got the Jags on the board first when he won 5-and-4 over Cowboys' sophomore Morgan Hoffman, a member of the 2009 U.S. Walker Cup team. Norlander never trailed, winning the first hole with a birdie. He led 4-up after five holes and led by as much as 6-up after the eighth.
The Cowboys, who were seeking their 11th national championship in men's golf, drew even at 1-all when Sean Einhaus defeated ASU's Carter Newman in the first match of the day. Einhaus closed out the match when the players traded pars on the 17th hole, good for a 2-and-1 victory.
"We were behind the eight ball the whole day," said Cowboys' head coach Mike McGraw. "We had one match going our way, and everything else was the wrong way. We kind of clawed back, but in the end we didn't hit the shots needed to win a championship. Josh Gregory's kids are gamers. They are impressive young men, the ones I watched. Taylor Floyd is an amazing story, pulling an IV out of his arm."
ASU sophomore Patrick Reed gave the Jags a 2-1 advantage when he closed out Peter Uihlein 4-and-2. Reed trailed only briefly, losing the first hole when Uihlein birdied. Reed answered with a birdie at the par-five second and followed with birdies on the third and fourth holes. He led by as much as 5-up after the 10th hole.
Sophomore Taylor Floyd, battling the flu for the second straight day, went out last for the Jags after Cowboys' head coach Mike McGraw agreed to allow the scheduled second match of Floyd and Trent Whitekiller to be pushed back to match five.
In what appeared to be the match that would decide the outcome, Floyd birdied the first hole to go 1-up and won the third and fourth holes for a 3-up lead. Whitekiller won the sixth and seventh holes to cut his deficit to 1-down, and birdied the ninth to square the match.
Floyd went 1-up at the 10th before Whitekiller countered with wins on the 13th and 14th for a 1-up lead, his first of the day. Floyd evened the match at the 16th with a birdie and appeared to be in position to take a 1-up lead at the par-five 17th after reaching the green in two.
When Krywulycz's match ended, the hole was halved as well as the match.
"With having Taylor as sick as he was, we needed to get a lead over those guys," said Gregory, who got doused by Newman and Reed with a cooler of water as he was wrapping up an interview with the Augusta Chronicle's Chris Gay. "They are incredible players, and we needed to get some momentum early. We had a lot of fans here and we got some people fired up a little bit.
"It gave our guys a little confidence when they went by the scoreboards and saw that we were up in three of the matches all day. To find a way to close it out and get it done in the fashion that we did … For Mitch Krywulycz to be four down and come back and win the thing shows his heart and character and that is why I believed in that kid for four years now."
NCAA Men's Golf Championships The Honors Course Ooltewah, Tenn. Par 72 – 7,395 yards June 1 -6, 2010 Match Play Championship
1. Henrik Norlander (Augusta State) def. Morgan Hoffman
(Oklahoma State), 5-and-4
2. Patrick Reed (Augusta State) def. Peter Uihlein (Oklahoma State), 4-and-2
3. Mitch Krywulycz (Augusta State) def. Kevin Tway (Oklahoma State), 1-up
4. Taylor Floyd (Augusta State) halved with Trent Whitekiller (Oklahoma State)
5. Sean Einhaus (Oklahoma State) def. Carter Newman (Augusta State), 2-and-1
NOTES … In
match play, Henrik Norlander and Patrick Reed posted a 3-0 record,
Carter Newman went 2-1, Taylor Floyd went 1-1-1 and Mitch Krywulycz
went 1-2 … The Jaguars combined for 15 birdies on Sunday
… In their quarterfinal and semifinal matches, sixth-seeded
ASU edged No. 3 seed Georgia Tech 3-2 and knocked off No. 2 seed
Florida State 4-1 on Friday and Saturday, respectively … The
Jags finished sixth in the stroke-play portion of the tournament,
carding a one-under 863 (287-288-288) … The Cowboys, the top
seed, entered the NCAA Championships as the top-ranked team in the
nation … The NCAA Championships appearance marked the 11th
for the Jaguars since 1993 … The Jags had more NCAA
Championships appearances than all but eight of the 30 teams in the
field … With the victory, ASU recorded its 10th straight
top-five finish of the season … In his eighth year as head
coach, Josh Gregory has lead the Jags to four NCAA Championships
appearances, the most by any coach in school history … Among
the ASU lineup, juniors Henrik Norlander and Mitch Krywulycz have
NCAA Championships' playing experience from 2008 at
Purdue's Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex … The NCAA
Championships is the second-oldest contested amateur championship
in the United States … Only the U.S. Amateur predates the
NCAA's … The Jags' Gregory (SMU) and Stanford
head coach Conrad Ray both played in the 1996 NCAA Championships
… Gregory was a four-year member of the SMU men's golf
program, while Ray played for his alma mater (Stanford) …
Gregory and Ray were actually paired together for the first two
rounds that year … Of the 30 teams in this year's
field, 13 were also in the field in 1996 … Arizona State won
the team title that year behind head coach Randy Lein, who is now
in his 18th season at the helm of the Sun Devils'