OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Led by Senior Austin Cook
and junior Sebastian Cappelen
’s par performances, the University of Arkansas men’s golf team holds a five-stroke lead on the field at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational after 18 holes of competition.
Cook and Cappelen are two of four Razorbacks among the top 10 individuals as Arkansas combined for a first-day score of three-over par. Ranked No. 15 by Golfstat entering the tournament, the Razorbacks lead No. 13 Northwestern (+8) by five strokes with Auburn (+9), Duke (+11) and Oklahoma State (+13) rounding out the top five. Other top 25 teams in the field include No. 18 Illinois (T7th, +15), No. 4 Florida (T7th, +15), No. 2 SMU (10th, +19), No. 25 Indiana (11th, +20) and No. 19 Clemson (12th, +21).
Cook had the fewest hiccups on the day as he navigated the South Course at Olympia Fields to two birdies and two bogeys. Opening on No. 10, Cook moved under par with a birdie on No. 14, but back-to-back bogeys placed him at one-over. A birdie on No. 1 got the Jonesboro, Ark., native back to par and he closed out the round with eight pars.
Things were not as easy for Cappelen who had to battle back from a double bogey late to card his par, 70. Posting a bogey on his third hole of the day, Cappelen worked his way back under par with a pair of birdies before he made the turn. His double bogey came on No. 4, his 13th hole of the day and pushed him over par once again, but a birdie on No. 7 and four pars closed out his round at even par.
The rounds posted by Cook and Cappelen have the duo tied for second overall, two strokes behind Nicholas Losole of Northwestern who completed the day with a two-under par, 68.
Participating in his first event of the season, junior Joe Doramus
made an immediate impact when he finished at one-over par, 71. A bogey on his opening hole did not seem to deter the Little Rock, Ark., native, as he returned to even par with a birdie on his third hole. Doramus would post another bogey on his first nine holes, but that was also matched with a birdie. The same scenario would play out on the final nine holes with Doramus posting a bogey and following it up with a birdie until his final hole of the day which he carded a bogey.
Arkansas’ fourth score of the day was submitted by freshman Taylor Moore
who fired a two-over par, 72, which has him tied for ninth overall. Moore was one-under par through seven holes before a triple bogey increased his score to two-over par. Moore came back immediately with a birdie on the ninth hole of the round, but was back at two-over following a bogey on No. 1, his 10th hole. A birdie-bogey combination on No. 6 and No. 7 kept the first-year player at two-over par where he would end the round.
Fellow first-year player, Nicolas Echavarria
was forced to play from behind his entire round after a double-bogey on his first hole of the day. A second double bogey over the opening nine holes went along with two birdies and two bogeys to place him at four-over par at the turn. A birdie and bogey over the final nine holes kept Echavarria at four-over for the round as he sank seven par putts over that span.
The Razorbacks begin the second round of competition on Monday morning from the first tee with players from Northwestern and Auburn.