STILLWATER, Okla. – The No. 14 University of Arkansas men’s golf team participated in its practice round at the 2011 NCAA Championships at Karsten Creek Golf Course on Monday in Stillwater, Okla. The Razorbacks are the No. 17 seed at the championships and begin the first of three rounds on Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. on the first tee.
The format for the NCAA Championships includes three rounds of stroke play, similar to the format that the Razorbacks have played throughout the 2011 season. Following the third round of competition on Thursday, the top eight teams will advance to match play and compete for the national title in a single elimination tournament.
"Karsten Creek is a great course and the way that they have set the rough leads me to believe that scores are going to be really high," Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said. "Fortunately for us, we play at a course that is very similar to Karsten Creek’s speed and length so we should be in good shape entering the championship. This course is reminiscent of a U.S. Open course with the deep rough and will put a premium on hitting the ball straight. Anything off the fairway is just about an automatic bogey."
The Razorbacks advanced to their 18th NCAA Championship as a team with a fifth-place finish at the Southeast Regional in Ocala, Fla. Despite their finish at the regional, Arkansas is seeded higher than two of the teams that placed higher at the regional. Oklahoma State, the No. 1 team in the country and host of the championship earned the No. 1 seed at the event.
Arkansas brings the same squad that advanced through the regional to the NCAA Championships including senior Jamie Marshall, junior Ethan Tracy, sophomore Austin Cook and freshmen Sebastian Cappelen and Will Pearson. The quintet has played in eight tournaments this season and won four including back-to-back-to-back victories in March.
Helping Arkansas this week will be the familiarity of four of the Razorbacks to the Karsten Creek course. Marshall and Tracy played in Stillwater as part of the 2009 South Central Regional while Cook and Pearson each played amateur events at the venue. Arkansas’ last trip to Karsten Creek, that 2009 regional saw the Razorbacks finish second to Oklahoma State.
The Razorbacks’ participation at the NCAA Championships is its first since the 2009 season when Arkansas shocked the collegiate golf world with a second-place finish. That squad finished tied for third after stroke play and went on to defeat Washington and Georgia during match play before falling to Texas A&M on the final hole of the competition.