ATLANTA, Ga. – It was a tough final day for the No. 9 University of Arkansas men’s golf team on Thursday at the 2013 NCAA Championships as the Razorbacks finished the stroke play portion of the event at three-over par as a team, good for 10th place. Freshman Nicolas Echavarria
and junior Sebastian Cappelen
tied for 13th and 16th, respectively, to lead the Razorbacks.
Arkansas’ final tally was one shot shy of a four-way tie for sixth place, a position that would have sent the Razorbacks back out on the course to determine the final participants in match play which is scheduled to begin on Friday.
“I was really pleased with the way that we played throughout the tournament,” Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin
said. “We didn’t have a good day today, but we still had a chance to make match play late in the round and that is all you can ask for. Nicolas had a great tournament and he was really upset that he wasn’t able to make that putt, but we would not have been in that position if he hadn’t played so well all week.”
As a team, the Razorbacks were six-over par on Thursday which included five double bogeys, a total that exceeded their double bogey total from the first two days combined. Those miscues were too much for Arkansas’ 13 birdies to overcome and placed the Razorbacks in 10th, their best finish since the NCAA runner-up performance in 2009. The top 10 placing is the second for McMakin as Arkansas’ head coach, just the ninth top 10 finish in program history and only the second since 1994.
The University of California, ranked No. 1 in the country, finished first in stroke play at 16-under par as a team and was followed by No. 7 and host Georgia Tech at 10-under par. No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Texas tied for third with Illinois fifth and No. 6 New Mexico, No. 21 Texas A&M, UNLV and Arizona State all tied for sixth at two-over par.
Freshman Taylor Moore
posted Arkansas low score on Thursday when he rounded the Capital City Club’s Crabapple course at one-under par, 69. Never taking stroke above par during the final round, Moore birdied No. 3, No. 9 and No. 17 when Arkansas was in need of a birdie late. He posted bogeys on No. 6 and No. 12. Moore ended the tournament with a three-round score of 213, three-over par and in a tie for 60th individually.
Cappelen closed out the NCAA tournament with an even round of 70 on Thursday to shoot three-under par for the three days and tied for 16th. Opening with a bogey, Cappelen quickly got his score under par with back-to-back birdies on No. 5 and No. 6 and would make the turn at one-under par. A birdie on No. 10 had him two under, but he carded one of the Razorbacks’ double bogeys on No. 11 after his tee shot went right and forced him to try and hit a shot under the trees to get it close to the green. He would sink a birdie on No. 12 to get back under par, but a bogey on No. 18 brought him back to even par.
Playing in his first NCAA event, Echavarria closed with a score of four-under par and tied for 13th after a two-over par, 72, on Thursday. The Razorbacks’ final player on Thursday, Echavarria also opened with a bogey, but sank a birdie putt on No. 5 to back to even. His tee shot on the par three, 191-yard sixth went right and led to a double bogey putting him at two-over par where he would stay through the 11th hole. Taking advantage of his length with the driver, Echavarria birdied the par five, 12th, to get back to one-over par. His tee shot on No. 16 found a fairway bunker and led to a bogey, but he rallied by hitting a 35-foot putt on No. 17 to get the Razorbacks back in the running for the playoff. Unfortunately, Echavarria missed his par putt on 18 and had to settle for a bogey and a round of two-over par.
Senior Austin Cook
closed out his Razorback career with a round of five-over par and a three-day score of 218, which tied him for 109th at eight-over par. Another opening hole bogey for a Razorback was not the start that Cook wanted, but he found a groove by No. 5 and hit three straight birdies to get to two-under par. A double bogey on No. 8 moved his score back to even par and he made the turn at one-over after a bogey on No. 9. Cook’s back nine was solid through No. 14 but a tee shots into bunkers on the par three, 15th, and par four, 16th, led to a pair of double bogeys. He finished strong with a pair of pars, including a clutch eight footer on No. 18.
Completing the Razorbacks round was sophomore Thomas Sorensen
whose seven-over par, 77, did not count to the Arkansas team score. Getting off to a bad start, Sorensen double bogeyed No. 1 and No. 3 before back-to-back birdies on No. 3 and No. 4 helped his score. He made the turn at four-over after a pair of bogeys. The Dane played the back nine at three-over par to arrive at his final score and a tie for 136th.
The Razorbacks conclude their 2013 season with the team’s third trip to the national championship in the past five years and a pair of tournament wins. Cappelen became Arkansas’ second SEC individual champion and Taylor Moore
earned co-Freshman of the Year honors by the league. Four of the five Razorbacks from this season’s NCAA Tournament team return and two experienced players return to the fold after redshirting the 2012-13 season.