JOHNSON, Tenn. — Mike Ketcham makes his debut as Arkansas’ golf coach when his club participates in the Fourth Annual Bank of Tennessee/Ridges Collegiate Saturday and Sunday.
The 15-team tournament hosted by East Tennessee State at the Ridges Golf and Country Club in Johnson, Tenn., includes Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Houston, Kansas, North Carolina, North Florida, Oklahoma, Pepperdine, South Carolina, Southern California, Tennessee, Texas Christian and Wake Forest.
“We’re very excited to get started,” Ketcham says. “We’ve had a good week of practice. Ideally, I would like to have more than a week to practice, but when you get an opportunity to play in a tournament against this field, you can’t pass it up. Eleven to 12 of these teams played in the NCAAs last year.”
The event begins with 36 holes on Saturday and concludes with 18 on Sunday.
Two returnees and three newcomers will be playing for the Razorbacks. Junior Drew Higginbothom and sophomore Adam Wing are joined by first-year players Andrew Dahl, Josh Farrell and Chad Faucett. Dahl is a sophomore from Uniontown, Farrell is a freshman from Springdale and Faucett a sophomore from Katy, Texas.
Higginbothom, from Marianna, and Wing, from Broken Arrow, Okla., each played 34 rounds in 12 tournaments last year with Higginbothom averaging 76.1 strokes per round and Wing 76.4. They each had a low round of 71.
“The qualifying scores were pretty good for the first time out,” Ketcham says. “We’re looking for consistency in our lineup, one through five, and we’re looking to be competitive. We’ll find out exactly where we stand.”
Ketcham, who played at Arkansas in 1986 and 1987, was named UA’s golf coach on June 16 after spending the previous five seasons as the head coach at Oregon State where he led the Beavers to a 12th-place finish at the 2001 NCAA championships in Durham, N.C. He was also the head coach at San Jose State and Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College for two years each.