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STILLWATER, Okla. --- Russell Henley and Chris Haack were walking down the 10th fairway at the NCAA Championships on Saturday, and the Georgia senior had a request of his coach.
"Russell looked at me and said, `You need to smile. This might be our last time together,'" Haack recalled. "I said, "No it's not. We're going to have another day together.'"
The Bulldogs were all smiles and Haack's words seemed prophetic following Saturday's semifinal match with Duke at Karsten Creek Golf Club. Georgia dispatched the Blue Devils 3-2 with wins from Henley, senior Harris English and sophomore Bryden Macpherson.
With the win, the Bulldogs advanced to Sunday's final against Augusta State. The Jaguars, the 2010 national champs, knocked off Oklahoma State 3-2 on Saturday.
"Getting here is great, but since we're here, we might as well go ahead and try to win it all," Haack said with a laugh. "That's the neat thing about match play and the reason I like this format so much. Now we can go to bed knowing we've got a chance. It's us against them. Nobody's coming out of the pack. That's the fun part of it.
"This is pretty special, having two teams from the state of Georgia in the finals. It's a big deal. Hopefully the folks back home are getting excited about this."
Sunday's final match will be played at 1 p.m. Live scoring and video will be available at NCAA.com.
"It feels really good," English said. "It's what we've been gearing up for all year. We've got three seniors (English, Henley and Hudson Swafford), and this is our final tournament. Having this opportunity really means a lot to us."
"This is the closest we've been to winning a national title," Henley said. "You're gunning for it every year, but this is the closest we've been. We're going to try to enjoy it. A lot of people may get tight, but tomorrow is my last day ever playing college golf, so I'm going to enjoy it."
Macpherson got the Bulldogs' first win as he knocked off Austin Cody 2&1. English followed with a 5&4 decision over Brinson Paolini. Henley closed the match with a 3&2 victory over Tim Gornick.
In the other matches, Duke's Julian Suri topped sophomore T.J. Mitchell 3&2, while Duke's Wes Roach defeated Swafford 2&1.
"There's a lot of excitement on our team," Macpherson said. "We're very happy to be in the position we are. We came in with no pressure. We're just playing golf and things are going the way we planned so far. We're going to keep doing what we're doing, have fun, play the best we can and give it everything we've got."
Haack said Sunday's key could be the leadership provided by the seniors, who are 4-1-1 in the NCAAs thus far.
"Tomorrow is going to be pretty sentimental with those guys," Haack said. "It's been great having them in the lineup. They've been a force for us the last four years. This is what your horses are meant to do - get out there and run for us."