OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – The Arkansas men’s golf team improved its score for the second straight round and for the second straight day moved up the leaderboard at the competitive Fighting Illini Invitational held at Olympia Fields. The Razorbacks were able to move past No. 25 Baylor on the final day to tie for ninth place in the field of 15 teams.
One of just four teams to improve its score each round, Arkansas’ four-man score of 290 on Sunday was highlighted by an even-par 70 from senior Taylor Moore and a 71 turned by classmate Nicolas Echavarria. The Razorbacks finished in front of one top 25 team and two others that received votes in the preseason Golfweek/Bushnell coaches poll.
After finishing Saturday’s second round as one of just three players in the field of 77 to shoot under-par, Echavarria’s 71 capped a steady weekend that featured a 73-69-71 scorecard to tie for 13th place. Echavarria was one of 16 players to shoot 73 or lower all three rounds while his eight birdies over the weekend were a team-high.
Moore’s 70 was his low round of the weekend and the 52nd even-par or lower round of his career. The Edmond, Okla. product made the turn at one-over but produced two birdies down the stretch for one of 15 par or lower rounds on the day by the field. With his 75-77-70 scorecard, Moore has a counting score in 11 of 12 career rounds at the Fighting Illini Invitational.
Along with Echavarria and Moore, junior Zach Coats (76-73-74) turned in a counting score each round and tied with senior Kolton Crawford (71-77-75) for 50th place. Crawford joined Moore in leading the team in par 5 scoring at five-under. After finishing with his first career top 10 in the season-opening Carmel Cup at Pebble Beach, sophomore Alvaro Ortiz’s low round of the weekend came on Saturday in the form of a 73.
T13. Nicolas Echavarria – 73-69-71/213
T43. Taylor Moore – 75-77-70/222
T50. Kolton Crawford – 71-77-75/223
T50. Zach Coats – 76-73-74/223
70. Alvaro Ortiz – 81-73-76/230
Fighting Illini Invitational Final Standings (Bushnell Golfweek Preseason Coaches Poll)
1. Florida State (4) – 273-294-279/846
2. Oklahoma State (16) – 282-285-282/849
3. Arizona State (6) – 285-288-282/555
4. Stanford (10) – 281-284-291/856
5. Illinois (1) – 282-288-288/858
T6. Texas A&M (RV) – 289-287-288/864
T6. Alabama (17) – 293-287-284/864
8. Texas (3) – 290-290-288/868
T9. Arkansas (RV) – 295-292-290/877
T9. Augusta State – 289-294-294/877
11. Northwestern – 300-291-288/879
T12. Baylor (25) – 287-295-298/880
T12. Indiana – 296-293-291/880
14. UNLV (RV) – 289-302-294/885
15. Texas Tech (RV) – 289-306-291/886