PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Led by a two-under 70 by redshirt junior Kolton Crawford and a one-under 71 by freshman Alvaro Ortiz in his collegiate debut, the No. 21 Arkansas men’s golf team opened the fall season with a five-man score of one-over par 361 at Pebble Beach Golf Links to sit in a tie for fourth place in the competitive eight-team Carmel Cup.
Taking on a field that features six teams in the GCAA Coaches Preseason Top 25 Poll, the Razorbacks sit in a tie with TCU for fourth position, just two strokes behind No. 11 Oklahoma for third. Fellow SEC member No. 5 Georgia owns the first round lead at eight-under 352, while Texas Tech is second at five-under. Unlike traditional college tournaments, the Carmel Cup format features six players per team with the low five scores counting to each round’s total.
Crawford’s round was bolstered by an 11-hole stretch from No. 6 – No. 16 in which he played bogey-free with four birdies en route his 70 that put him in a tie for fifth overall. The under-par round resembles Crawford’s finish to his sophomore campaign when he produced a 71.2 scoring average in the postseason (SEC Championships, NCAA Regionals, NCAA Championships).
Ortiz wasted no time in making a strong impression, carding birdies on two of his final four holes, including the par 5 18th, to open his career as a Razorback with a 71. The brother of Web.com Tour money leader Carlos Ortiz, Alvaro tied for the team lead with 13 pars and bounced back from his two bogeys in the round with birdies on the very next hole. Ortiz enters the second round in a tie for ninth place.
Juniors Taylor Moore and Nicolas Echavarria turned in counting scores of one-over 73. Each had identical front (36) and back (37) nine scores, while Echavarria eagled his second hole of the season. Freshman Emil Soegaard was as low as four-under during his first collegiate round and finished with the fifth counting score of two-over 74. North Texas transfer Gonzalo Rubio turned in an eventful 75 that featured four birdies on the front.
Arkansas will return to the scenic par 72, 6,828-yard Pebble Beach Golf Links on Saturday for round two. The Razorbacks will go off the first tee from 10:10-11:00 a.m. playing alongside Georgia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma.
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Kolton Crawford – 70 (-2)
Alvaro Ortiz – 71 (-1)
Taylor Moore – 73
Nicolas Echavarria – 73
Emil Soegaard – 74
Gonzalo Rubio – 75
Carmel Cup Standings (GCAA Preseason Ranking)
1. Georgia (5) – 352 (-8)
2. Texas Tech (RV) – 355 (-5)
3. Oklahoma – 359 (-1)
T4. Arkansas (21) – 361
T4. TCU – 361
T6. South Carolina (12) – 362
T6. Oklahoma State (T1) – 362
8. Vanderbilt (16) – 364