Another dramatic finish carries Augusta State

Augusta State's Carter Newman hugs head coach Josh Gregory after Saturday's semifinal win over Florida State.

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OOLTEWAH, Tenn. – Augusta State isn’t just adding excitement to this NCAA Championship by playing the underdog role. The Jaguars, who play at Division II for all sports except men’s and women’s golf, also are authoring their share of dramatic finishes.

Henrik Norlander clinched Augusta State’s 4-1 semifinal victory over Florida State on Saturday by holing a lob wedge from 84 yards for eagle on the par-5 17th. The hole-out gave Norlander a 3-and-1 victory over Drew Kittleson.

Then there was Augusta State’s Taylor Floyd, who was so sick that he threw up shortly after his 2-up victory over Wesley Graham. Floyd started to feel ill Friday evening, and his flu-like symptoms worsened in Saturday’s heat (temperatures in the 90s) and humidity. Floyd received medical attention during a rain delay that began when his match was on the 11th hole. Floyd had a 1-up lead at that point.

“It was huge,” Floyd said of the rain delay. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt this bad, ever. It’s awful.”

Floyd was all square through 13 holes, but made birdie on Nos. 14 and 15 to take a 2-up lead. He made a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th to clinch his 2-up victory, hitting 6-iron from 184 yards into the final green.

“Taylor Floyd was playing half-dead,” Augusta State head coach Josh Gregory said. “During the rain delay, I told him he didn’t have to play. He was that miserable. I was concerned for his health. He said, ‘I wouldn’t miss this for the world.’ ”

Augusta State’s Carter Newman beat Michael Hebert, 4 and 3. Augusta State’s Patrick Reed won, 1 up, over Brooks Koepka.

Saturday’s drama came a day after Reed holed a 15-foot birdie putt to clinch a 1-up victory over Chesson Hadley, who’d holed a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 18 before him. Augusta State beat in-state foe Georgia Tech, 3-2, in the quarterfinals.

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