PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Led by a combined 11-under par day by junior Ethan Tracy and freshman Will Pearson the University of Arkansas men’s golf team not only made up a six-stroke deficit, but won the John Hayt Invitational by two strokes on Tuesday afternoon at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The Razorbacks fired a five-under par, 283, on the final round to erase the six-stroke lead that runner-up Auburn had heading into the final day. The Tigers finished their day at four-over par and two strokes behind the Razorbacks who pick up their second tournament championship of the 2010-11 season. The last time that Arkansas won two tournaments in the same year was 2008-09. Rounding out the top five finishers at the John Hayt were LSU at seven-over par, Central Florida at 15-over par and Tennessee at 18-over par.
"I couldn’t be more proud of these guys," Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said. "We knew coming into the final round that we could make up some strokes based on how we played the first two days and Ethan and Will really stepped up. This was a very good field and to come from behind on the final day shows me what this team can do."
Tracy shot one of his most impressive rounds as a Razorback with his 66, which tied for the 11th best single-round score in Arkansas history. Tracy was just two-under par on the front nine with two bogeys and four birdies, but played a phenomenal back nine with an eagle, three birdies and just one bogey for his 66, and three-round score of 218 which tied for 11th overall. One-over par after four holes, Tracy hit birdies on three of his next six holes before his first eagle of the season on the par five 11th. He would then card birdies on three of the next five holes to move to seven-under par before a bogey on 17 helped him to his final score.
As impressive as Tracy’s round, Pearson was as steady as they come on his way to the best round of his career. Pearson recorded five birdies and no bogeys over the final 18 holes to finish at 67, five-under par. Pearson opened his round with a birdie, before hitting six-straight pars. Another birdie on the par five eighth gave him a two-under par score for the front nine. On the back side of the course, Pearson birdied each of the par three holes as well as the par four 17th to go three-under par for the final nine holes and five under for the day.
Freshman Sebastian Cappelen had the most impressive tournament for the Razorbacks, as he tied for second in the individual standings, three strokes off the winner, Phillip Choi of Florida. Cappelen had an up and down day for his final 18 holes, finishing the tournament with a one-over par 73 and three day score of 212. Cappelen’s final score was four-under par and matches the score he put up at the Gopher Invitational, where he also finished second overall. On the day, Cappelen was two-under par on the front nine with four birdies and two bogeys, but a tough stretch on the back nine saw him hit four bogeys in six holes before he finished his round with a birdie on 18.
Senior Jamie Marshall was Arkansas’ final scorer on the day as he notched five bogeys in his round to finish at five-over par. Marshall’s score of 225 placed him in a tie for 38th in the individual standings and his round on day three improved on his second round performance by a single stroke.
Just behind Marshall on Tuesday was sophomore Austin Cook who shot six-over par, 78 over the final 18 holes. Three-over par after five holes on four bogeys and a birdie, Cook settled in and hit 10 straight par putts before a bogey on the 16th. Still in decent shape, Cook’s double bogey on 17 pushed his score outside Arkansas’ top four.
Playing as an individual, junior Christoffer Arvidsson completed his first tournament of the year in 51st place with a three-day score of 228. Arvidsson was six-over par on the final day of competition, shooting one-over par on the front nine with two bogeys and his only birdie of the day, and five-over on the back side with three bogeys and a double bogey.