Texas, Augusta State tied at Forest Hills
Saturday, March 31, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. – One team is trying to continue its march toward the national title, while another is trying to return to the postseason after a historic run. Those storylines top the leaderboard at the Augusta State Invitational, held in the shadow of the year’s first major.
Top-ranked Texas and host Augusta State are tied at 17-under 559 with one round remaining at Forest Hills Golf Club. Augusta State, the two-time defending NCAA champion, entered the event with a 55-53-1 record, needing a good showing to ensure a posteason bid. The Longhorns and Jaguars will duel Sunday at classic Forest Hills, where Bobby Jones won the 1930 Southeastern Open before winning the Grand Slam. The course is less than five miles from Augusta National.
TCU freshman Julien Brun holds the individual lead at 11-under 133 (68-65), one shot ahead of Augusta State’s Taylor Floyd (67-67). Brun is seeking his second victory of the spring; he also won the John Hayt Invitational. Texas’ Dylan Frittelli, the No. 2 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, is in third at 9-under 135 (68-67).
Frittelli, of South Africa, is seeking to win just miles from where countryman Charl Schwartzel will begin his Masters defense on Monday. Frittelli competed against Schwartzel’s brother, Atti, and father, George, in amateur golf. Teams at the Augusta State Invitational are given badges to attend Monday’s Masters practice round.
Frittelli is coming off a first-place finish at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate, where he tied teammates Jordan Spieth and Julio Vegas for the title. Spieth is the nation’s No. 1-ranked player. The race for No. 1 has been a hot topic between Spieth, a freshman, and Frittelli, a senior.
“Julio always instigates it, referring to Jordan as No. 1 and me as No. 2,” Frittelli said. “It’s all in jest. It’s all fun.”
Spieth is tied for ninth at 4-under 140, giving Frittelli a chance to gain ground on his teammate.
The player-of-the-year awards may still be up for grabs, but Augusta State’s postseason bid seems secure, barring a Sunday disaster. Augusta State, which does not belong to a conference, is ranked 46th in the nation, high enough to all but ensure an at-large bid to NCAA regionals. Teams must finish with a .500 or better record to earn such a bid, though. This is Augusta State’s final event of the year.
Floyd is the lone starter remaining from Augusta State’s NCAA title teams, having played in the lineup that won the 2010 title at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn.
“We know what we have to do,” Floyd said of his team’s postseason situation.