Photo by Christine Troyke
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Carter Newman birdied the first playoff hole Saturday to beat Oklahoma State's Sean Einhaus and lift defending champion Augusta State into an all-Georgia final round at the NCAA men's golf tournament.
Newman hit clutch putts on the 17th and 18th holes to keep the pivotal match going, then pumped his fist after dropping the winner on the 14th green. Augusta State claimed a 3-2 victory in the match-play semifinal, beating the powerhouse Cowboys in a rematch of last year's final.
''My kids love that. They love the underdog, they love trying to beat somebody they shouldn't beat,'' Augusta State coach Josh Gregory said.
''I always said our dream matchup would be to play the best team in the country on their home course, and to find a way to knock them off was pretty cool. But we've got one more to win.''
The Jaguars will face Georgia in today's championship. The Bulldogs beat Duke 3-2 behind victories from Harris English, Russell Henley and Bryden MacPherson.
The final will pit Patrick Reed -- who throttled U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein 8 and 7 -- against his former school. He played for the Bulldogs as a freshman before transferring to Augusta State, which competes in Division II in most sports.
''It's a great group of guys, a great coach,'' Reed said. ''It's just going to be fun.
''For me, it's going to feel like I'm back at home.''
Augusta State set out to prove that last year's finals upset wasn't a fluke, also getting a 3 and 1 win by Henrik Norlander against Kevin Tway, a Ben Hogan Award finalist and the son of PGA golfer Bob Tway.
''You can't be shocked. They're a good team. They're a great team,'' Georgia coach Chris Haack said. ''They proved that last year. When you're dealing with good players, even though there's a a home-course advantage and there's course knowledge, we've been out here and played this golf course ... six straight days.
''At some point, you just start feeling more and more comfortable.''