ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Senior Jamie Marshall shot even par, 70, on the first day of the Southeastern Conference Men’s Golf Championship to tie for fifth individually and lead the No. 15 University of Arkansas men’s golf team to second place, one stroke off the lead.
Marshall’s round was one of just seven on the day that was either at or below par as wind and well placed bunkers played a role in player’s decisions. As a team, Arkansas shot six-over par as Marshall, junior Ethan Tracy, freshman Sebastian Cappelen and sophomore Austin Cook each placed among the top 21 individuals. The Razorbacks trail No. 8 Florida (+5) for the top team position while No. 34 Tennessee (+6) is tied with the Razorbacks. No. 2 Alabama (+11) ranks fourth with No. 6 Auburn, No 13 Georgia and No. 9 LSU all tied at 12-over par.
"I thought we had a good first day," Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said. "Course conditions were difficult and to play six-over par as a team is a very good score. We are just one stroke off the lead and I couldn’t be more pleased. Now we need to get back to work and do it for two more days because there is still a lot of golf to be played."
The Razorbacks hit just six birdies as a team during Friday’s first round, but also limited their mistakes and hit their par putts. Marshall sank two of those birdies, both on the front nine, and wrapped up his round with 10 consecutive holes of par. A birdie on his first hole, Marshall gave the stroke back on the par 3 third. A bogey on seven, a par five with the wind in your face, had him one over, but he rebounded with a birdie on eight. Marshall’s 70 is his best single round at an SEC Championship and at even par, he is two strokes off the pace of John Peterson of LSU who shot two-under par.
Tracy’s round consisted of 15 holes of even par, a birdie and two bogeys. Even through three, Tracy bogeyed four and remained at one-over par until 11 where he dropped in a birdie. Unfortunately for the Hilliard, Ohio, native, he would bogey 12 to go back to one over and finished his round with six holes of par.
Cappelen played the front nine as good as anyone in the field as he shot one-under par over the opening nine holes. Three bogeys in his back nine however, moved him to two-over par for the day. While he was striking the ball very well for most of the round, Cappelen did get into some trouble on 15 when he put his second shot into a green side bunker which led to his third bogey in four holes. Despite the setback, Cappelen finished with back-to-back-to-back pars.
Arkansas’ scoring was completed by Cook who came back from a near disastrous double bogey on 12 to finish at three-over par. After opening his round with par, Cook posted back-to-back bogeys to quickly move to two over. The Jonesboro, Ark., native then stuck eight straight pars before posting his double on the par 3, 12th. Cook quickly put the bad hole behind him as he hit four straight par putts and finished the final six holes at one-under par.
Sophomore Josh Eure was Arkansas’ fifth player on Friday and finished the round at six-over par. Eure recorded a birdie, four bogeys and a triple bogey to account for his six-over.
The Razorbacks tee off on Saturday for the second round of the SEC Championships at 8:50 a.m., starting on the first tee. Arkansas is paired with Tennessee for the second straight day as well as front running Florida. Eure will start things off and be followed by Cook, Cappelen, Tracy and Marshall.