Arkansas Ends Season with 17th-place Showing a
BY ANDRES FOCIL
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – After being stuck in a tie for 20th place for the past two days at the NCAA Central Regional Championships No. 23 Arkansas saw its season come to an end when the Hogs were unable to post a top-10 finish that was required to advance to the NCAA Championships. The Razorbacks did improve their standing to 17th place when they turned in a third round score of 310 for 22-over-par. With it’s first and second round performances of 314 and 307 Arkansas came away with a total score of 931 (+67).
“We got off to a slow start and dug ourselves in a hole,” Arkansas head coach Mike Ketcham said. “The guys really fought hard out there, but we got too far behind too soon. It was an extremely difficult golf course and we came up short in the end.”
Southeastern Conference opponent Kentucky held off top-seeded Oklahoma State to take the team title with an 882 (+18). The Cowboys earned runner-up honors with a 29-over-par 893. The Wildcats excelled with the help of John Holmes who put up a two-under-par 214. The other eight teams that made the cut included Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas, TCU, Purdue, Wichita State, SMU and Kent State.
For the second time this year senior All-American Andrew Dahl and freshman Matt Bortis were UA’s top finishers when they tied in 45th. Their scores for the weekend were 230 for 14-over-par. In Saturday’s third round Bortis moved up from a tie for 51st when he fired a 77 (+5), after he shot first and second rounds of 78 and 75, respectively. Dahl turned in a final round of 78 and put up first and second round score of 73 and 79, respectively.
Dahl had an outstanding senior campaign as he earned his second-career All-SEC honor and third-consecutive top-15 finish at the league championships in April. He was also able to garner his third-career tourney title at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate where he recorded a career-best and competitive course record round of 64.
Bortis was an unexpected surprise for the Razorbacks this year and was their top finisher four times. His stroke average was second on the team only to Dahl’s.
Senior Seth Murphy started off with a double bogey on the No. 10 hole, but went on to record three birdies to finish the day with a 77 (+5). After first and second round scores of 81 and 77 he ended the tournament in a tie for 80th and a score of 235 for 19 over par.
Senior Chad Faucett had rebounded in the second round with a 76, after he recorded an 82 in the opening round, but was unable to keep up his pace in the final round. He posted a 13-over-par 85 to finish in a tie for 118th with a 27-over-par 243.
The two seniors from Texas both recorded three top-20 finishes during their final year and provided solid leadership for the team. Faucett saw competition in eight tourneys this year, while Murphy represented Arkansas in ten.
Freshman Beau Glover had the biggest turn-around after carding first and second rounds of 86 and 85, respectively. The Sherwood, Ark., native registered four birdies in Saturday’s final round for a 78 (+7). His play put him in a tie for 132nd with a score of 249 (+33). For his first season as a Razorback Glover was able to post quality performances, including five top 25 finishes.
“I must say that I really appreciate our seniors,” Ketcham said. “They have helped bring this program a long way and have certainly made Arkansas golf a better place. They have helped lay the foundation for a great future.”
Even though Arkansas was unable to advance to the NCAA Championships, the Razorbacks still had a strong season. The Hogs put together 10 top-10 team finishes for the year, including five in the top five. They were also invited to several prestigious tournaments, including the Topy Cup in Japan and the Hall of Fame Invitational.
Next year Coach Ketcham will have talented freshmen returning who have gained valuable experience this year, including Bortis, Glover and Scotty Campbell. He will also have the services of redshirt junior Josh Farrell and redshirt freshman Barrett Lais.
“I feel really good about next year,” Ketcham said. “We are going to have an extremely young and talented team. They are all going to play in national tournaments this summer, so the commitment is there, but we still have a lot of work to do in the off-season.”
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