FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s golf team advanced to the 2013 NCAA Championships with a second-place finish at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional on Saturday at Blessings Golf Club. The Razorbacks are making their third trip to the NCAA Championship in the last three years.
The Razorbacks entered the final round with a one stroke lead over Illinois and after falling behind by as many as seven strokes, put together a big finish to pull within one as players began making their way up the 18th fairway. Illinois would ultimately prevail with a team score of one-under par for the 54-hole tournament while the Razorbacks shot two-over par. No. 4 Texas finished a distant third at 16-over par with No. 16 Oklahoma State (+18) and No. 28 Kent State (+28) also making the NCAA Championships field with top five team finishes.
“We advanced to the NCAA Championship and that is the most important thing from this week,” Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin
said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way that this team played. Over the three days we never counted a score above 74 which is nearly impossible to do on this course. Illinois deserved to win the team title because they also had a great tournament and made big shots down the stretch.”
Entering the final day with a share of the individual lead, senior Austin Cook
found himself in early trouble as he bogeyed two of the first three holes. He made the turn at four-over par after back-to-back bogeys on No. 8 and No. 9, but found his stroke on the more difficult back side of the course and played those nine holes bogey free with two birdies to finish his round at two-over par. Entering the par four, 18th, Cook was one stroke behind SMU’s Mario Clemens for individual medalist honors and his tee shot found a fairway bunker. Looking for a birdie, Cook hit his second shot to the middle of the green leaving him a 40-foot putt for birdie. His next shot was on line and stopped just two inches from the cup putting him in second place.
Rebounding from a difficult second day, sophomore Thomas Sorensen
played nearly flawless golf on Saturday to finish the round at one-under par. Sorensen hit just a single bogey on the second hole of the day and sank a pair of birdie putts on No. 7 and No. 16 to arrive at his final score. The Dane was the only Razorback to shoot under par on Saturday and moved into a tie for 26th with the effort.
Freshman Nicolas Echavarria
posted a score of two-over par, 74, on Saturday which included a chip in from the right side of the green on 18 in front of the gallery which excited the crowd. Echavarria opened with par and birdie on the first two holes before a double bogey on No. 3 moved him to one-over par. A birdie on No. 9 got him back to even par at the turn and he played the back nine at two-over par with four bogeys and two birdies. Echavarria’s 74 placed him in a tie for 14th with a score of 220, four-over par.
A third round of two-over par, 74, was carded by freshman Taylor Moore
on Saturday to complete the Razorback scoring. Moore’s round included five birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey as he finished the regional tied for eighth with a score of 218, two-over par. Moore posted identical rounds of par 72 on Thursday and Friday before his two-over on Saturday. Three-over par at two different points, Moore was able to limit the damage and each time got his score back to one-over par before finally settling at two-over.
Junior Sebastian Cappelen
’s par putt on No. 18 circled the cup before staying on the green for a tap in bogey and a final day score of 75, three-over par. Cappelen had a pair of birdies and bogeys on the front nine along with a double on the par four, sixth to make the turn at two-over par. He played better on the back nine with a birdie and two bogeys with six pars to achieve his final score. Cappelen’s three-day total of four-over par, 220 placed him in a tie for 14th.
The Razorbacks begin play at the NCAA Championships on Tuesday, May 28, at the Capital City Club in Atlanta, Ga.