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Men’s golf signs three, including two top 5s

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Men’s golf signs three, including two top 5s

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — University of Arkansas head men’s golf coach Brad McMakin announced the signing of three players to national letters of intent on Monday including two ranked among the top five in the nation. Taylor Moore of Edmond, Okla., Nicolas Echavarria of Medellin, Colombia, and Zach Coats of Springdale, Ark., each signed on to become Razorbacks for the 2012-13 season. “This is definitely the best class that I have ever signed,” McMakin said. “Taylor Moore is ranked No. 2, Nicolas Echavarria is No. 5 and Zach Coats is a top 100 player who is a local kid from Springdale who made the cut at the US Junior. We have a good team and to be able to sign two top 10 junior players in the country to go along with the players that we have returning sets us up well for the future.” Moore, the No. 2 junior player in the Golfweek rankings, has deep Arkansas roots despite growing up in Oklahoma. His father Rod was a baseball player for the Razorbacks in 1986 and 1987 and his mother Melinda a cheerleader for the University. He was a second-team Rolex All-American in 2011 and honorable mention Rolex All-American as a sophomore in 2010. At the US Junior Amateur he finished fifth in stroke play and advanced all the way to the final 16 players of match play. He placed sixth at the 2011 Western Junior Championship, 16th at the 2011 Junior PGA Championship and made appearances at several other national events like the AJGA ping Invitational and Texas/Oklahoma Red River Invitational Championship. “Taylor has it all,” McMakin said. “He plays consistent in every major tournament that he plays in and just won his last tournament that he played in. He is just consistent, day-in and day-out he has a chance to win every tournament. He chips the ball great, putts well and has an all-around game.” Echavarria is the third person in his family to sign a golf scholarship. His oldest brother Andres just graduated from Florida before turning to the pro golf circuit and his older brother Miguel plays for Michigan. Originally from Medellin, Colombia, Echavarria, ranked No. 6 by Golfweek, attends Pendleton High School in Bradenton, Fla. He placed third at the Junior World Golf Championship this year, made the semifinals of match play at the 2011 US Junior Amateur and also took third at the Doral/Publix Junior Classic. Echavarria was a second-team Rolex All-American in 2011 and member of the Colombian National Golf Team. “He has really come on lately and had a good summer,” McMakin said. “He finished third at Junior Worlds, third at Doral so he has played really well and is coming on strong. He is just now getting into his own game and to have him and Taylor is really great for this program.” Coats is a three-year all-state and all-conference player for Har-Ber High School in Springdale who took up golfing relatively late compared to some. He was the 2011 USGA Junior Amateur qualifier champion which was held at Blessings Golf Course, finished 33rd at the Junior Amateur, won the 2010 Texas Junior Golf Tour Sooner Invitational and took the 2011 7A West conference championship along with the state championship. “He is an athlete,” McMakin said. “He was a baseball player and didn’t take up golf seriously until about two or three years ago. He hits the ball a long way and is big, 6-2, 200 pounds. He has won a few tournaments and getting into the US Juniors is really difficult and he made the cut and advanced to match play. For a guy that doesn’t have a lot of tournament experience, he has a lot of upside.” The Razorbacks are currently ranked as high as No. 4 in the men’s golf rankings and won four of their five tournaments this fall. Arkansas returns to the links on Feb. 10, when they play in the Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Fla.



Sports Category : Golf (M)