NEWPORT COAST, Calif. – Sophomore Austin Cook and freshman Sebastian Cappelen each shot two-under par 68s on the first day of the Battle at the Beach at the Pelican Hill Golf Club’s Ocean North Course on Sunday as the University of Arkansas men’s golf team opened its spring season in a tie for fifth after the first of three rounds.
The 12th-ranked Razorbacks are tied with No. 2 UCLA at three-over par as a team, five strokes behind No. 25 San Diego who fired a two-under par round to hold a two-stroke lead over the field. No. 14 Augusta State is second at even par while Arizona State and Washington are tied for third at one-over par.
Cook and Cappelen’s rounds nearly identical as they each finished the first 18 holes of the tournament with three bogeys and five birdies. The pair’s rounds included one-under par scores for the front nine and two-under par scores on the back side of the course. Cook’s opening round 68 is his best start to a tournament this season and matches his career best from a year ago. The Jonesboro, Ark., native was one-over after two holes but posted back-to-back-to-back birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes to move to under par where he would stay.
Cappelen’s opening round 68 is also a career best and improves on the opening round 70 he began the David Toms Intercollegiate with in mid October. Cappelen averted a tough ending to his day after a bogey six on the par five, 17th by sinking a birdie putt on 18 to achieve his final score.
Senior Jamie Marshall and freshman Will Pearson each shot two-over par for the opening 18 holes to contribute to Arkansas’ team score. Both rounds could have been better had they not counted double bogeys, but solid efforts by both players kept the scores manageable and Arkansas in the hunt for the team title. Marshall struggled early in his round, going four-over par through the front nine, but two-under par on the back side of the course allowed him to finish at two-over. Pearson’s front nine by comparison was much better as he finished at one-under par, but his double bogey came on the 17th hole moving him over par for the round.
Arkansas’ final scorer on the day was junior Ethan Tracy who finished at three-over par. Tracy also counted a double bogey on his round, but matched his remaining four bogeys with three birdies including back-to-back birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.
Sophomore Josh Eure was the final Razorback competitor on the day and finished his round at seven-over par. Eure’s round included one birdie, four bogeys and a pair of double bogeys.
The Razorbacks continue competition with the second of three rounds at the Battle at the Beach on Monday, Feb. 14.