BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Senior Ethan Tracy
of the University of Arkansas men’s golf team fired a five-under par, 67, the third best score by a Razorback at a NCAA Regional ever, on the second day of competition at NCAA Bowling Green Regional held at The Club at Olde Stone on Friday. The sterling performance by Tracy allowed Arkansas to improve 10 strokes from Thursday’s first round and has Arkansas tied for 10th as a team.
The Razorbacks were one of 10 teams to improve from day one to day two and their 10-point swing was the fourth best among the 14 teams. No. 3 UCLA continues to lead the team standings at five-under par, followed by No. 15 Texas A&M who improved 17 strokes on Friday to shoot 10-under par and move into second place. Chattanooga (-1), Memphis (+6) and Virginia Tech (+7) round out the all-important top five places who receive bids to the NCAA Championship. Arkansas (+18) is tied with North Texas for 10th overall.
“We were better today than we were yesterday,” Arkansas Head Coach Brad McMakin
said. “That said we still have a lot of work to do if we want to make it to the national championship. I know that we can play better than we have shown, but it will take all five guys making putts, and hitting fairways if we want to qualify.”
Tracy’s second round included six birdies and just a single bogey as he torched the back nine for five birdies over the nine-hole stretch. Beginning his round on No. 10, he sunk his first birdie putt on the 11th hole and made it back-to-back birdies with another on No. 12. He would again sink back-to-back birdies on No. 14 and No. 15 before closing out with a birdie on No. 18. Moving to the much tougher front nine, Tracy sank seven par putts with a birdie on the par four, fifth, before making his only bogey on No. 9 to close the round.
The round of 67 by Tracy trails Eric Shriver (2003-3rd round) and former All-America Craig Lile (2000-3rd round) who each shot 66 at a NCAA Regional and matched the efforts of Jamie Marshall
(2010-2nd round), Tag Ridings (1997-1st round) and Brenden Pappas (1991-1st round) who also scored 67. The Hilliard, Ohio, native’s two-round score of 143, one-under par, has him on pace to finish with one of the best regional scores in Arkansas history as well as in striking distance of making the NCAA Championship field as an individual should the Razorbacks not make it as a team.
“Ethan had a tremendous round and really took advantage of the back nine,” McMakin said. “His putting was solid the entire day and he carried us as a team. I am really proud of what he did today and know that he has another round like under his belt.”
Sophomore Sebastian Cappelen
produced another solid round on Friday when he finished with a score of even par. Cappelen was aided tremendously by an eagle on the par five, seventh, when he holed out from 88 yards and his round would also include three birdies, five bogeys and nine pars. Opening the round with three pars and a birdie on No. 11, Cappelen then went through a rough stretch that included three bogeys in four holes before he birdied No. 18. He would fight back to even par with a birdie on No. 2, where he would remain until a bogey on the par four, sixth. His eagle got him back to one-under before he chipped and two-putted on 18 for a bogey.
Wanting to improve from his difficult first round, junior Austin Cook
played the course at one-over par on Friday, an eight-shot improvement from Thursday’s score. Sinking par after par, Cook bogeyed No. 15, but closed out the back side of the course with back-to-back birdies to get to one-under par. Bogeys on No. 1 and No. 3 hurt his score, but a birdie on No. 6 moved him back to even par where he would remain until a bad break on No. 18 forced him to lay up instead of going for the green in two which cost him another bogey.
Arkansas’ final score of the day came from junior Josh Eure
and freshman Thomas Sorensen who shot matching rounds of eight-over par on Friday. Eure had a tough start with a double bogey on No. 11, but back-to-back birdies on No. 12 and 13 got him back to even par. A triple bogey on No. 15 ruined the promising start and the third-year player closed out the round with another big score.
Sorensen’s putting was his nemesis on Friday as several three-putts changed what could have been a great score into a difficult day. Sorensen’s round included two birdies, eight bogeys and a double bogey.
The Razorbacks look to make a move into the top five at the Regional on Saturday when they tee off at 8:20 a.m., from the 10th tee. The Razorbacks will play with players from North Texas and Jacksonville State in the final round of competition.