On Friday, Arkansas men’s golf senior Sebastian Cappelen
will return to
Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course, where last year he became just
the second player in program history to win the SEC Individual
Championship. He won the title in style with a SEC Championship 54-hole
record score of 202, highlighted by 40 straight holes without a bogey.
It can be intimidating to return to the place you’ve been most
successful, but Cappelen – a three-time Palmer Cup participant for Team
Europe and a two-time All-American – hasn’t let himself get into that
mindset. He’s got a short and simple plan for success and he’s shared it
with his teammates: get the ball on the green, do whatever it takes. We
caught up with Sebastian as he prepares for his fourth and final SEC
Championship and relives his success from his last outing at the Seaside
What did you have going during last year’s SEC Championship that allowed you to go 40 straight holes without a bogey?
“I was just able to keep the ball straight. It’s important to be able
to control your distance and your curves, but with the harsh conditions
and the course it was just important for me to keep my ball straight.
The course doesn’t have much trouble in front of the greens, so if you
can land them short and kick them up onto the green it doesn’t really
matter. Keeping my ball straight was the key to my success because I
hit 36 greens out of 36 holes in the last two rounds, which made it
easier not to make a bogey.”
When you’re at your best like you were at last year’s SEC Championship,
do you forget about everything else and get in a groove?
“It does feel easy; you just click. You find an exact way to approach
that particular golf course. I found out after that I couldn’t play
every golf course like I play Sea Island. It just wouldn’t be the right
thing to do and I wouldn’t play that well if I did. Every course is
unique, and it just clicked for me in at the SEC Championship so
hopefully I can get back to that.”
This weekend will be your fourth trip to the SEC Championship. How does
the experience you’ve gained over the past three seasons help prepare
you for this weekend?
“[The experience] is everything because that course is so special. It’s
unlike any other golf course I play because the green complexes are
really large runoffs and have really tight cut grass. You can get in
positions that make you shoot shots that you wouldn’t usually hit. If
you haven’t played it before, it isn’t easy, but I feel like I know what
to expect now. It takes some of the pressure off.”
What kind of guidance can you give to your teammates going into the tournament?
“I’m going to do everything I can. We’ve been talking about what we
need to practice on and focus on and, to me, hitting the greens is the
key. We’ve got to keep the ball in play off the tee. Not being scared
is huge, too, because I’ve watched good teams and played with good
players there. Some of the plays are wider than they look and you just
have to trust it. I’m going to try to get the guys to get in the mode
that a driver is the right play on some of the holes, even though it
doesn’t feel like it. You just have to trust it and try to hit the
Do postseason tournaments have a different feel?
“It’s never really felt any different to me because, at the end of the
day, it is just another tournament. Obviously it is a bigger event, but
for me, I like to attack everything the same way so I can keep my
routines and inner tension the same. Hopefully we can stay that way and
not get over excited or feel too much pressure.”
How has your game grown during your time at Arkansas?
“I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself and the way I handle myself
on a golf course. I have matured a lot and learned to play good golf,
not just hit good shots. I’ve learned to score and how to turn a good
number on a day when you’re not really feeling it, which is going to be a
key to my success in the future because you have to make the cut every
week to get a check.”