Razorbacks Will Look for Top 10 Finish at NCAA
BY ANDRES FOCIL
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – For the second-straight year Arkansas will be competing for a spot in the NCAA Championships when they travel to West Lafayette, Ind., for the NCAA Central Regional Championships. The Hogs head into the tournament as the seventh seed and must finish in the top 10 of the region in order to advance to the national championships.
“This is a great opportunity to move further into the post season,” Arkansas head coach Mike Ketcham said. “This is what we’ve worked hard for all year. We’ll go to this tournament with the thought of finishing in the top 10. Even though we haven’t played our best golf in the past month I’m still confident we’ll do well at regionals.”
The 23rd-ranked Razorbacks are coming off a 12th place finish at the Perry Maxwell Intercollegiate, but the same five-man lineup remains optimistic about their chances on the par 72, 7,259-yard Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.
“The positive thing that came out of competing in Ardmore (Okla.) was that our short game got better,” Ketcham said. “We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we normally do, but that’s because it was a tricky tree-lined course. If our excellent chipping and putting continues we’ll do well on this course at Purdue.”
The NCAA Central Region is loaded with 27 talented teams. All but seven of the schools can be found in the Golfweek/Sagarin Top 50. The Razorbacks are currently ranked at No. 23 and they will be joined by (in order of seeding) Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Kansas, Tulsa, Colorado, SMU, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Xavier, Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue, Kent State, Wichita State, Indiana, Lamar, Notre Dame, Princeton, Western Illinois and Jackson State.
At last year’s regional Arkansas garnered a seventh place showing and went on to finish 27th at the NCAA Championships. Their quality performance was made possible with the help of senior Andrew Dahl who was UA’s top finisher when he tied for 11th place. Dahl will be looking to turn in another top 15 score as he leads the Razorbacks. The Uniontown, Ark., is currently ranked at No. 51 in the Golfweek/Sagarin men’s individual ratings and has the best stroke average of 72.2 on the team. He has had an excellent senior campaign and recorded seven top-20 finishes, including his third-career tournament victory at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate on March 16. He also carded a personal-best and competitive course record round of 64 at the tournament.
Senior Seth Murphy has experienced a recent surge and hopes to keep his momentum going at Purdue. Last weekend he was the team’s No. 2 man for the first time since March 2 at the Cleveland Golf Classic. He also bettered his average to an even 74.0 with his performance.
Freshman Matt Bortis has the second best stroke average on the team with a 73.3 and has been the team’s top finisher three times. He also has four top-20 finishes to his name, as well as five rounds in the 60’s.
Right behind Bortis in the average rankings is senior Chad Faucett with a 73.8. Faucett has proven to be a solid No. 3 man on the roster and has posted three top-20 finishes during his final collegiate campaign.
Freshman Beau Glover is seeing action in his 10th tournament this year and will look to contribute to a top-10 finish. Glover is carrying a 74.5 stroke average and five top-25 finishes.
Arkansas’ first round tee time is scheduled for 12 p.m., on Thursday, May 20 on the No. 1 hole and 7:57 a.m., on Friday, May 21 on the No. 10 hole. A final round will take place on Saturday, May 22 with tee times to be determined after scores from the first two rounds are turned in.
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