ASU looking to add event to get into postseason

Augusta State's Carter Newman clinches the final point to beat Oklahoma State during Semifinals of Saturday's Match Play at the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He celebrates with acting assistant coach, Kevin McPherson. McPherson is now the head coach at Augusta State.

While his players enjoy their time at Augusta National on Monday, Augusta State head coach Kevin McPherson will be hard at work. He has an important task: try to find a one-day event that the Jaguars can play in order to get their record above .500 and become eligible for an NCAA postseason bid.

Augusta State is a program defined by its postseason success. The Jaguars won NCAA titles in 2010 and 2011, the first team to win consecutive championships since Houston in 1984 and 1985. Augusta State has a losing head-to-head record this season and no events remaining on its schedule, leaving it in danger of missing NCAA regional play.

The Jaguars entered their own Augusta State Invitational at No. 58 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. That ranking, easily good enough to earn a postseason bid, was expected to improve after the team finished second to No. 4 Texas at the Augusta State Invitational. Augusta State held a 62-66-1 record after its home event and scheduled season finale.

The Jaguars do have one day of regular-season competition remaining, though. NCAA rules allow golf teams to compete 24 days per season; Augusta State has only played 23 days because one of its events, the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate, was shortened a day by inclement weather. That wash-out gives Augusta State the option of adding a one-day event to its schedule to bump its record above the all-important .500 mark. Teams must have a .500 or better record to be eligible for an at-large bid to the postseason.

McPherson estimates there are “50 to 60” teams with an extra date in their schedule. “Regardless of if we get in (the postseason) or not, I feel like it is my job as coach to use all 24 days,” McPherson said. Augusta State could either create its own event – it would need to find at least four other teams – or be added to an existing event.

“As long as we get the opportunity,” McPherson said.

Augusta State already has played one one-day event this year for the purpose of padding its record. The team organized the Forest Hills Intercollegiate at its home course in February, winning the 10-team event for its first title since the 2011 NCAA Championship. Augusta State organized the event in October because the team’s original schedule had 23 playing days, one under the maximum. Augusta State won its next start after Forest Hills, the Cleveland Golf/Palmetto Intercollegiate, before its postseason hopes were hampered by a 12th-place finish at the Hootie.

“We tried. We worked hard,” McPherson said. “I hate that it comes down to something like this.”

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