ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Junior Ethan Tracy and sophomore Austin Cook each shot one-over par rounds on Sunday afternoon , but despite their efforts, the No. 15 University of Arkansas men’s golf team could not move up the team standings at the 2011 Southeastern Conference Championships, finishing sixth.
The Razorbacks finished where they should have according to the Golfstat rankings entering the championship as there were five teams ranked higher than Arkansas when the competition started on Friday. The SEC Championships is one of the hardest competitions that any team will face before the NCAA Championships in late Mate.
"Ethan and Austin had great days," Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said. "But once again we couldn’t get that fourth score. Sebastian (Cappelen) was also very good, but our next best score was a 76 and at this tournament you can’t count a 76 and expect to win. This tournament will prepare us for the Regional Championship next month and hopefully for the NCAA Championships later in the year."
Tracy used back-to-back-to-back birdies on the front nine to help him to his one-over par score. Even through five holes, he posted his trifecta on holes six through eight before bogey on nine placed him at two-under at the turn. Tracy posted bogeys on 11, 13 and 18 on the back nine to get to his final score. Tracy finished the tournament with Arkansas’ second best individual score at 216, six-over par, a total that tied for 14th overall.
Cook’s round was always at or around par on Sunday. After a tough second day for the sophomore, Cook bogeyed the second hole, but came back with a birdie on seven to make the turn at even par. He would again bogey an early hole on the back side, No. 10, and stay at one-over until a birdie on the par five 15th moved him back to par. The Jonesboro, Ark., native gave the stroke right back to the course on 16 with a bogey and finished with a pair of par putts.
Cappelen finished the SEC Championships with Arkansas’ best individual score at 215, five-over par, and a tie for 12th. A true freshman, Cappelen was impressive each day and finished the championship with rounds of one-over, two-over and two-over par. Sunday’s competition for Cappelen featured a pair of birdies and four bogeys. He had two of each on the front nine to play the front half of the course at even par. After bogeys on 12 and 14, Cappelen finished his run at the championships with four straight pars.
Sophomore Josh Eure added Arkansas’ fourth score on Sunday after recovering from what could have been a crushing fifth hole. Already one-over par, Eure hit two balls into the hazard on the dogleg right hole and was credited with an eight. He finished the front nine at seven-over par, but saved his best for last as he finished his round at one-under par for a final score of 76. Eure posted birdies on 10 and 17 with a single bogey on 14 over the final nine holes.
Senior Jamie Marshall, Arkansas’ individual leader in each of the first two days, had a round that he would like to forget on Sunday as he shot 10-over par on the day. Never able to get anything going, Marshall recorded nine bogeys or worse in the round with just one birdie and eight pars.
In the team scoring, Florida won the SEC title with a solid score of eight-over par as a team. They pulled out a six-stroke victory over Alabama (+14) while Tennessee (+16), Georgia (+22), LSU (+25) and Arkansas completed the top half of the standings.
The Razorbacks now await the announcement of NCAA Regional competition which will take place following the myriad of conference championships that occur over the next several weeks.