CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico – With three players shooting below and a fourth at even par, the University of Arkansas men’s golf team erased a seven-stroke deficit and took an eight-stroke lead at the Cabo Collegiate in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Sunday. Senior Jamie Marshall, freshman Will Pearson and junior Ethan Tracy were all under par for the Razorbacks as they compiled a team score of -8 (280), Arkansas’ lowest team round for a par 72 course since last September.
The Razorbacks’ four players at or under par is the first time since the second round of the Wolverine at Radrick Farms a year ago that an Arkansas team accomplished the task and led to a huge swing in the team standings on Sunday. First-round scores at the Cabo Collegiate saw Houston with a fair lead on the field, but its score of 292, one stroke better than Saturday’s final, was well off the pace of Arkansas’ 280 which led all teams. SMU posted a 283 on Sunday to move up four places in the standings to third and Oregon St. ranks fourth. The Razorbacks hold an eight-stroke lead heading into the final day of competition as they seek their first tournament victory since last season’s Redstone Challenge.
"We played very well today," Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said. "I was really proud with the attitude that we came out with and the way that we battled. Will Pearson had a tough start to his round but found his stroke and shot 69, Jamie [Marshall] also shot 69 and when you have multiple players shooting rounds below 70 you have a great chance to do something special as a team."
Marshall’s round was very smooth as the senior posted just a single bogey while he birdied two of the par fives and two par fours. Marshall did not hit a single stroke on Sunday when he was above par as he birdied his third hole of the day and was two-under on the back nine.
Arkansas’ other round of 69 was carded by Pearson who saw himself two-over par after the first hole, yet battled back to finish his round at three under. A double bogey on the par four fifth, his first hole of the day was followed by a birdie and a bogey placing the freshman two-over par through three holes. A birdie on the 10th preceded back-to-back-to-back birdies on 16, 17 and 18 allowing Pearson to play the final 15 holes at five-under par.
Junior Ethan Tracy recorded Arkansas’ third sub-par round with a two-under par 70. Like Pearson, Tracy’s round did not start well as he notched two bogeys over his first five holes, but came back with birdies on four of his next seven to move to two under and finished his day with six-straight holes of par for his final score.
Rounding out Arkansas’ scoring was sophomore Austin Cook who birdied his final two holes to finish at even par for the second straight day and complete the Razorbacks’ stellar round. One-over at the turn, Cook bogeyed the 11th to fall to two-over par but after five-straight holes of par, the Jonesboro, Ark., native carded a pair of threes on the final two par four holes.
Playing as an individual, Arkansas’ Josh Eure also carded a second-round score of 69, three-under par. Back-to-back birdies to start his day had the Crofton, Md., native in great shape, but three bogeys over his next six holes had Eure at one over with 10 to play. Eure responded to the challenge with four birdies over his next five holes and completed the round with five straight pars.
The Razorbacks look to take their first championship of the 2010-11 season on Monday with an 8:30 a.m. local start.