BRADENTON, Fla. – The No. 8 University of Arkansas men’s golf team swept Chattanooga, 5-0, to earn a spot in the championship final of the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship on Monday. The Razorbacks will play Duke in the final which is scheduled for Tuesday morning at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
The Razorbacks, who have improved in each round of the tournament and came in as the No. 1 seed in the 16-team field, knocked off the five seed Chattanooga, 5-0, with three matches going down to the final hole at all square before Arkansas players pulled out victories. Duke, the No. 3 seed and ranked No. 18 nationally, edged California in a one-hole playoff to advance to the tournament championship.
“I’m looking forward to playing for the championship,” Arkansas Head Coach Brad McMakin said. “We were fortunate to get the win because it was close the whole day. We just made a couple putts down the stretch. Our younger players have been really good this week and I think that our match with Duke will be very competitive.”
Sophomore Sebastian Cappelen, playing in the No. 1 spot for Arkansas, was the first Razorback to earn a point on Monday as he defeated Steven Fox, 4 & 3. Dropping the first hole, Cappelen won the second to bring the match all square and took the lead on the fourth hole. He would win three straight to go up three on the sixth and dropped just a single hole the rest of the way, concluding the match with matching pars on No. 15. The win for Cappelen was his third in three matches at the event.
Junior Austin Cook won his first match of the tournament when he took down Benjamin Weilguni, 4 & 2. The second Arkansas player to clinch victory on Monday, Cook fell behind on the third hole of the day, but returned the match to even on the fourth with a par. He took the lead on the seventh hole, sixth of the day, and never looked back, opening up a five-hole lead at one point and wrapping things up with a par on 17.
In a battle the entire day, senior Ethan Tracy and Chattanooga’ Stephen Jaeger put down equal scores on 13 of their 18 holes played, but a late win by Tracy allowed him to take the match. Tracy would go up one on the fourth hole, but surrendered the lead on the fifth. All square through six, Jaeger grabbed the lead on seven and led by one hole through 10 before Tracy’s par on 11 moved it back to all square. Tracy would get a lucky break on 16 when he won the hole despite a bogey and matched his opponent shot-for shot the rest of the way to clinch the match for Arkansas.
Arkansas’ biggest comeback of the day was earned by freshman Kolton Crawford who found himself down by two holes with six to play, only to erase the deficit and take the win. Down by two through 12 holes, Crawford won two straight with a par and birdie and took a lead with a third win in four holes, only to surrender it back to Liam Johnston who made the match all square after 16. With two holes remaining, the two players would hit par to remain square until the last when Crawford’s par bested Johnson’s triple bogey.
Freshman Thomas Sorensen kept his undefeated streak at the championship intact despite giving up a four-hole lead late. Winning six of the first 11 holes, while surrendering just one, Sorensen built a sizeable advantage over Chris Robb, but the Chattanooga player came storming back with four wins in six holes to move the match to all square with one hole remaining. Undeterred by the comeback effort, Sorensen knocked in a birdie putt on the last hole of the match to secure the victory.