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.
Coach: Arkansas golfers deserving of better seed
Arkansas junior Sebastian Cappelen hits from the 18th tee during the final round of the NCAA men's golf regional on Saturday, May 18, 2013, at The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE - The No. 19 Arkansas men’s golf team will be heading to SEC territory and a familiar course set-up for its NCAA regional next week.
The Razorbacks drew the No. 4 seed in the Columbia (Mo.) Regional, which will be contested at The Club at Old Hawthorne starting next Thursday. The 54-hole tournament is a qualifier for the NCAA Championships.
Arkansas Coach Brad McMakin said he was satisfied the regional site, but not the Hogs’ seeding.
“It’s the same type of grass we play on here with zoysia fairways and bent-grass greens, so I’m excited about that,” McMakin said.“We don’t putt very well on bermuda and we played on bermuda basically all spring. We always have better putting statistics on bent grass.”
McMakin said he felt like the Razorbacks, coming off a sixth-place finish at the SEC Championships, had played their way to a better seed.
“We’ve had some pretty good finishes toward the end of the year against some really good fields,” he said. “ I’m surprised we dropped down to a four seed. My opinion, we should have been a three.”
Arkansas, which has qualified for the NCAA Championships three times in the past five years, earned its seventh consecutive NCAA regional berth under McMakin, who is in his eighth season. The Razorbacks finished second at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional last year, then fell just short of making the eight-team match-play cut at the Crabapple Course north of Atlanta.
The top five teams from each of the six NCAA regionals will advance to the 30-team field for the NCAA Championships on May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan.
Defending NCAA champion and No. 1-ranked Alabama picked up a notable draw as the No. 1 seed in the Auburn Regional. Auburn will be the No. 4 seed on its Auburn University Club course. There are 12 SEC teams in the 80-team field.
Arkansas will be in direct competition with LSU, the No. 3 seed at the Columbia Regional, and host Missouri, which is the No. 8 seed.
“Having Missouri on their home golf course, like we had last year, makes them a lot better than an eighth seed,” McMakin said.
No. 2-ranked Oklahoma State is the top seed at the Columbia Regional, followed by No. 9 Virginia, No. 24 LSU, No. 19 Arkansas, Arizona State, Iowa, San Diego State and Missouri.
The Razorbacks will be led by senior Sebastian Cappelen, who tied for 13th at the SEC Championships with sophomore teammate Nicolas Echavarria two weeks ago.
McMakin said he would take the same five-man lineup that competed in the SECs at Sea Island in Georgia, with sophomores Taylor Moore and Kolton Crawford and freshman Zach Coats of Springdale Har-Ber joining Cappelen and Echavarria.
“We feel like we’ve got a chance to win,” McMakin said. “We’re going to go play to win. We don’t want to go try to finish fifth. We’re going to hopefully get head to head with Oklahoma State and LSU the last round, coming down the stretch and hopefully we can pull it out.”Arkansas men’s golf glance WHAT NCAA Golf Regional WHEN May 15-17 WHERE Columbia, Mo., The Club at Old Hawthorne REGIONAL SEEDS No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 LSU, No. 4 Arkansas, No. 5 Arizona State, No. 6 Iowa, No. 7 San Diego State, No. 8 Missouri
Sports, Pages 19 on 05/06/2014