It's OSU-Augusta State, Again

The Oklahoma State and Augusta State golf teams will face off in a semifinal match of the NCAA Golf Championship on Saturday, but the battle officially began immediately after both teams won quarterfinal matches Friday. Augusta (Ga.) State upset the heavily favored Cowboys in last year's championship match, while OSU has been thinking about revenge since walking off the course a year ago.

The Cowboys, who defeated Ohio State (3-1-1) in Friday's quarterfinal match at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, believe they are the underdogs despite winning six of eight tournaments this spring and being ranked as the nation's No. 1 college golf team the entire school year.

The Jaguars, who won 3-2 over Georgia Tech in their quarterfinal match, will disagree.

"They've got nothing to gain. In their opinion if they were to lose it would be a failure to the outside world. Although it's not, to the outside world it would be perceived that way. It's hard to get to match play and then it's hard to win each match so there is more pressure on them," said Augusta State head coach Josh Gregory.

"These kids still have something to prove. They want to prove that last year wasn't a fluke and obviously they've proven that so far and we can't wait for tomorrow. It'll be a dream match up. We've been dreaming of this match up for a whole year.

"That's kind of been our rallying cry of saying what a sweet opportunity it would be to play them on their home course in front of their home fans and knowing how badly they want to win and beat us. I wish it were in the finals but we'll relish that moment. I don't know who we'll play but I can promise you they won't be scared. They've done it once; they can do it again."

"Obviously they are the best team in the country. They have three first-team All-Americans, they are playing on their home course and everybody expects them to win and nobody expects us to win but my kids know we can. Our five on the team and myself know we can get it done.

"But we're going to have to play great though. We're going to have to play better than we have. We haven't played our best yet so that's encouraging. If Henrik (Norlander) and Patrick (Reed) are on their games those two are the two best players in the country. So if those two are on we've got a great chance."

Oklahoma State head coach Mike McGraw says he's not sure who will have the most pressure when the two teams tee it up at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

"We're not the defending national champion. It's probably going to be pressure on both teams. Augusta State is a tough team. They've proven that just because you're a small, little school down in the South, you can be a great team. And they are. I don't think there is any more pressure on them than there is on us," said McGraw.

A grin spread across Peter Uihlein's face when he was asked if he'd been waiting 364 days to get a second chance at Augusta State and Patrick Reed, the Jaguar player who beat him 4-and-2 in last year's championship match.

"Yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to getting another crack at them. I think we're the underdogs tomorrow, so we're definitely going to come out and try to get it done," said Uihlein, whose match was halved with Ohio State's Bo Hoag Friday when played was halted after Kevin Tway's putt on No. 17 wrapped up the Cowboys' victory.

When told that both Gregory and Reed believe that they are the underdogs entering Saturday's match, Uihlein responded, "They wish. They're the defending champions. They're the champions until somebody knocks them off. In my mind, we're the underdogs."

Only one of the Cowboys playing in Saturday's semifinal won against Augusta State a year ago. Sean Einhaus defeated Carter Newman 2-and-1 for the team's only victory. Norlander defeated Morgan Hoffmann (5-and-4), Reed topped Uihlein (4-and-2), and Mitch Krywulycz defeated Kevin Tway (1-up in 19 holes).

The matchups Saturday will feature rematches between No. 1 players Uihlein and Reed, and Einhaus and Newman at the No. 4 position. Hoffmann will face Krywulycz in the No. 3 spot, with Tway going against Norlander at No. 2.

"I've played golf against him my whole entire career, and it's going to be fun playing against him," Reed said of his matchup against Uihlein. "He's a good buddy of mine, and I plan on hitting first the whole entire time just because he hits it a lot farther than I do. But I'm used to it. It's going to be fun playing him here. I would like to see how he plays this golf course, and see what he does with it.

"We're glad to be able to play them again. There's nothing like playing in the national championship against the best team in the country. We were hoping it would be in the final match, just like last year but at least we get to go up against them. It's going to be a battle.

"We're at their home course, and they're a very, very solid golf team so it's going to be a battle. It's going to be a lot of fun. We can't wait. We've been looking for this match all year long, and we finally get to have it," added Reed.

That's one point that both the Cowboys and Jaguars can agree on.

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