Arkansas Linksters Start Season with Tournamen
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas golf team will kick off its 2003 fall campaign when it travels to Tanagura, Japan for the prestigious Topy Cup. Earlier in the summer the Razorbacks were selected as one of four collegiate programs in the United States to play in the all-expenses paid tournament that will take place September 9-11, on Tanagura Country Club’s 72-par, 7,086-yard golf course.
“This is going to be a wonderful experience for our players to travel internationally,” Arkansas head coach Mike Ketcham. “To expose the kids to this type of competition so early in the season will pay huge dividends for the rest of the year and down the road. This is certainly an honor to be able to play in this event. The guys are anxious to get started. I know our goals this year are extremely high and now we get an opportunity to put all the hard work into tournament format.”
The squad will be led by seniors Andrew Dahl, Seth Murphy and Adam Wing, sophomore Paul Bradshaw and true freshman Scotty Campbell. The Hogs have had only seven days to practice since they arrived on campus, but Ketcham is confident in their ability to do well overseas.
“These guys have done a great job this summer of preparing themselves,” Ketcham said. “Even though we haven’t had a lot of time to practice before this event, I really like what I see. We need to get better in some certain areas, but I’m highly optimistic based on our practices this weekend. There’s not a better time to find out where we are as a golf team than traveling internationally.”
Dahl has a slight edge over the competition with valuable experience he gained after traveling to Japan for the U.S. v. Japan matches, where he had a successful showing.
“His experience and knowledge will be huge, not only for himself, but for the rest of us,” Ketcham said. “We’re going to lean on Andrew a little bit as a tour guide in terms of what to expect. Plus, the fact that Andrew has been over there and knows the type of grass that is on the golf courses. The fear of the unknown will help him in terms of being successful in this event.”
Joining UA will be the up-and-coming golf programs of Duke, Oregon and Washington. In addition to the four U.S. teams eight Japanese teams will round out the field. A practice round will be held on Monday, with one round being played on each day of the tournament. The Razorbacks are scheduled to tee off on Tuesday at 8 a.m.
Arkansas is Ketcham’s second team to be picked for the Topy Cup. His San Jose State squad was chosen for their performance in the 1995-96 season, but Ketcham was hired as the Oregon State head coach for the fall of 1996 and was unable to make to trip to Tanagura with the Spartans.
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