ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Senior Ethan Tracy
was one shot away from the record books on Saturday in leading the No. 9 University of Arkansas men’s golf team up the leaderboard at the 2012 Southeastern Conference Championship at Seaside Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga.
Tracy’s second-round score of 67 matches the fourth best 18-hole score in Arkansas history at the SEC Championship and is the best round by an Arkansas player in two years at the event. Tracy’s score led the Razorbacks to a six-stroke improvement from Friday and up two spots in the team standings. No. 7 Alabama continues to lead and is now 14-under par after two days and is followed by No. 2 Auburn (-4). No. 25 Georgia (-3), No. 22 Florida (+1) and the Razorbacks (+6) round out the top five.
“We played better today,” Arkansas Head Coach Brad McMakin
said. “We avoided the bad start that we had yesterday, but couldn’t quite finish. We gave away several strokes over the final three holes today which could have had us in a solid position to challenge for the top three.”
After shooting three-over par over the first five holes that he played yesterday, Tracy closed out with 13 pars and on Saturday opened with another impressive streak as he sank par on the first four holes. The senior then went birdie-eagle-birdie on consecutive holes to move to four-under par before he made the turn. Seven additional par putts were capped by a birdie on the par three, sixth and Tracy was five-under par with three to play. An errant tee shot on the par five, seventh, led to a double bogey and was the first score not at or below par in 28 holes for the Hilliard, Ohio, native. Tracy closed with a pair of pars to move into a tie for 13th overall, individually.
Freshman Thomas Sorensen, a January enrollee at Arkansas has only played in five collegiate tournaments, but has shown improvement in each. Saturday was no different for the Dane as he began the day with eight pars before a bogey on his ninth and 11th hole. A tremendous tee shot on the par four, fifth, a shot that he launched in excess of 350 yards was the first step to turning things around. Following a par on five, Sorensen sank back-to-back-to-back birdies to see his first sub-par score and closed with a bogey to finish at even for the day.
One of Arkansas’ most consistent players, junior Austin Cook
shot his second round of one-over par to move into a tie with teammates Sorensen and Sebastian Cappelen
for 23rd overall. Opening with a disappointing double bogey, Cook responded with back-to-back birdies and a third two holes later to get back to one-under par. A pair of bogeys over his final nine holes moved him to one-over for the day.
Cappelen produced an opening round of even par on Friday and while Saturday was not quite as good, his birdie on the seventh hole kept him at just two-over par for the day. Cappelen was very good about getting to the green in regulation on Saturday which led to 14 pars. The junior had a pair of bogeys on his first nine holes and was three-over after a bogey on No. 2, his 11th of the day. A short wedge into the par five, seventh green gave him an eight-foot birdie putt which he buried to get closer to par.
Arkansas’ final participant, Kolton Crawford
, shaved five strokes off his round one performance on Saturday to shoot a two-over par, 72. Opening with pars on his first five holes, Crawford knocked in a birdie on the par five, 15th before a bogey on 16 brought him back to even. A missed putt on 18 led to another bogey and the Mansfield, Texas, native stood at two-over par after a bogey on No. 4. A pair of birdies by Crawford surrounded a tough double bogey on No. 7 and the first-year player finished with a par to shoot his 72.
Due to impending weather in the area, final round tee times were moved up 30 minutes by the Southeastern Conference office meaning that the Razorbacks will start at 7:30 a.m. eastern from the first tee with players from Florida and Ole Miss.