Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Hog looks for wind beneath his swings
Sebastian Cappelen watches his chip shot bounce toward the hole and then in for an eagle on the par 4, 8th hole in the fourth round of the Western Amatuer at the Alotian Club in Roland on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013.
FAYETTEVILLE - University of Arkansas golfer Sebastian Cappelen said the weather for Thursday’s practice round at the SEC Men’s Championships was ideal, with no wind and a “perfect” sun.
Cappelen would like to see those conditions at Sea Island Golf Club on the Georgia coast deteriorate at least a little.
The Arkansas senior golfer won last year’s individual championship at Sea Island with a final-round 4-under 66 in windy, unpleasant conditions not unlike those on his home course in Odensa, Denmark.
SEC Men's Golf Championship
WHERE Sea Island Golf Club, St. Simons Island, Ga.
WHEN Today-Sunday WHAT 54-hole tournament
NOTEWORTHY Sebastian Capplen joined Bud Still (1995) as the only Arkansas men to win medalist honors at the SEC Championship. Still shot a 10-under 206 to win at the Legends Club of Tennessee. … The SEC Men’s Championship has been held at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course since 2001. … The 6,898-yard layout is a par 70. … Defending champion Alabama has won the past two titles. … The Razorbacks have won two titles this season: the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate on Oct. 15 and the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Feb. 16. … The Razorbacks have a 12-15 record against SEC opponents this year.
ARKANSAS LINEUP PLAYER RANK AVG. Sebastian Cappelen 20 71.8 Taylor Moore 89 72.8 Kolton Crawford 276 74.1 Nicolas Echavarria 411 74.9 Zach Coats - 77.0 NOTE Rankings provided by Golfstat
“It would be kind of nice to have a little more wind,” said Cappelen, who shot a tournament record 8-under 202 last year. “Hopefully that would be an advantage, but in these conditions it should be easier.”
The No. 19 Razorbacks, who finished fifth at last year’s SEC Tournament, tee off at 7:20 a.m. Central with playing partners LSU and Texas A&M on the Seaside Course at St. Simon’s Island, Ga.. The SEC champion will be crowned Sunday after three rounds on the 6,898-yard, par-70 layout.
Cappelen will be joined in Arkansas’ starting lineup by sophomores Taylor Moore, Kolton Crawford and Nicolas Echavarria and freshman Zach Coats. Moore tied for 27th last year at 10-over 220. Echavarria and Coats will be making their SEC Championship debuts, while Crawford tied for 42ndin 2012 with a 10-over 220.
Cappelen knows the rest of the field is keeping an eye on him in the race for medalist honors.
“There’s pressure, obviously,” he said. “I’m just trying to figure out a new way to outsmart everyone. The greens aren’t super fast. I see a lot of birdies that can be made.”
Cappelen won last year’s title by three shots over South Carolina’s Caleb Sturgeon by making up seven shots on Sturgeon in the final round. He played bogey-free for the final 40 holes at Sea Island and has a career scoring average of 70.3 on the course, which has hosted the SEC Tournament every year since 2001.
Moore is on a hot streak, with five top-10 finishes this season and a low score for the Razorbacks in four of five spring events.
The Razorbacks came in fifth last year with a team score of 15-over 855, behind SEC champion Alabama (828), Auburn (834), Florida (841) and Georgia (850).
The Crimson Tide, ranked No. 1 in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I coaches’ poll, which combines the resources of all three entities, is favored again but will face a tough field. Georgia is ranked No. 5 in the poll, followed by No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 14 Vanderbilt, No. 19 Arkansas, No. 21 LSU, No. 22 Auburn and No. 24 South Carolina.
Sports, Pages 26 on 04/25/2014