Arkansas Ready for Challenge at Cleveland Golf
BY ANDRES FOCIL
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – Two weeks ago Arkansas put together a third-place showing at the Taylor Made Waikoloa Intercollegiate and the 13th-ranked Razorbacks are hoping that momentum carries over at the Cleveland Golf Classic on March 1-2, in Westlake Village, Calif. The tournament is being hosted by the University of Southern California (USC) and will include a very talented field of teams. In fact, 11 of the 17 teams can be found in the Golfweek/Sagarin top 30.
“This is probably the best field we’ve seen in two years, besides the NCAA Championships,” Arkansas head coach Mike Ketcham said. “It presents us with a great opportunity to win a golf tournament. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to measure ourselves against some other teams. We’re going into it with the mindset of winning.”
Joining Arkansas (13) on the greens are Alabama, Arizona State (8), BYU (20), California (15), Illinois (21), Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine (30), Stanford, TCU (7), Tennessee (26), Texas (11), UCLA (3), USC (28) and Washington (27).
The same squad that excelled in Hawaii will represent Arkansas once more at North Ranch Country Club’s 71 par, 6,815-yard golf course. Senior All-American Andrew Dahl, senior Seth Murphy, sophomore Paul Bradshaw and freshmen Matt Bortis and Beau Glover all made the trip to the west coast.
Murphy is still carding the best stroke average on the team with a 71.4, with three top-10 finishes to his credit. Bortis is close behind with a 71.7 and recently notched his first top-five finish as a Razorback at the Taylor Made Waikoloa Intercollegiate.
With his four-under-par performance in Hawaii Dahl improved his average to a 72.9 and will look to continue that trend with a strong showing this week. The Cleveland Golf Classic marks Dahl’s sixth tourney for the 2003-04 year.
Glover carries the same average as Dahl and has never finished out of the top 30 in the four tournaments he has competed in. Glover was a consistent No. 2 man for the Hogs in the fall and has the potential to help contribute to a quality team showing.
Rounding out the team is Bradshaw who has a 73.5 stroke average. Like Bortis he is also coming off a season-best finish in Hawaii after he shot a three-under-par 213 to tie for 18th place.
A practice round will take place today and two rounds of play are scheduled for Monday with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. The final round will conclude the tournament on Tuesday. After the Razorbacks returns from Calif., they will travel to other side of the coast on March 7-9, to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the General Jim Hackler Intercollegiate, formerly called the Coastal Carolina Invitational.
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