Hogs nail down 2nd, NCAA bid

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

By: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Published: Sunday, May 18, 2014
Arkansas senior Sebastian Cappelen shot a final round 64 Sunday at the SEC Golf Championship.
Photo by Arkansas Athletic Communications
Arkansas senior Sebastian Cappelen shot a final round 64 Sunday at the SEC Golf Championship.

The Arkansas men's golf team came up six shots short of winning the NCAA Columbia Regional Saturday, but the Razorbacks still had a successful day.

Arkansas posted an 11-under round of 277 at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia, Mo., nipping host Missouri by one shot to finish second, five shots behind regional winner Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State (33 under) and Arkansas (28 under) advanced to the NCAA Championships on May 23-28 in Hutchinson, Kan., along with Missouri (27 under), LSU (15 under) and Iowa State (15 under).

"We shot 11-under and played really well," Arkansas Coach Brad McMakin said. "Obviously we would have liked to have won. But Oklahoma State had another good day. I'm glad our guys showed up and gave them a good challenge."

The Razorbacks were led by Kolton Crawford, who shot a 5-under 67 on the 7,221-yard layout.

Second-seeded Virginia did not advance, finishing seventh at even par after a disastrous 15-over 303 on Friday.

Missouri senior Emilio Cuartero fired a 7-under 65, the best round of the regional, to take medalist honors with an 11-under 205, one stroke better than teammate Hunter Kraus and Oklahoma State teammates Jordan Niebrugge and Talor Gooch, who had his second eagle of the regional on No. 8 on Saturday, but bogeyed the final hole.

Crawford, who was in fourth in the Arkansas lineup and 12th overall after two rounds, played a bogey-free round and carded birdies at Nos. 1, 2, 4, 9 and 17 to charge into sole possession of fifth place.

"I've been hitting the ball well all week and it produced a good finish for me," said Crawford, asophomore from Mansfield, Texas. "We kind of came tighter as a team this week. This tournament showed what we we can do when we're all playing well."

Senior Sebastian Cappelen and sophomore Nicolas Echavarria posted identical rounds of 73, 67 and 69 to finish in a five-way tie for sixth place at 7 under.

Sophomore Taylor Moore, who was tied for second after the second round, fired an even par 72, with three birdies and three bogeys, to tie for 11th at 6 under.

"It was our best performance of the year and it's coming at a good time," McMakin said. "It looks like we're peaking at the right time, which it what we always try to do."

Arkansas freshman Zach Coats of Springdale had a 6-over 78 on Saturday and finished at 12 over, tied for 57th.

Central Arkansas' Pep Angles capped his regional with a 1-under 71 and finished tied for 23rd at 1-under 215.

The Razorbacks, who advanced to their fourth NCAA championship in six seasons, finished second at an NCAA regional for the second consecutive year. Arkansas came in second behind eventual NCAA runner-up Illinois at its home course The Blessings last May.

"This definitely brings some momentum going into nationals," Crawford said.

Arkansas, LSU and Missouri were among the 10 SEC teams who advanced into the 30-team field at the NCAA Championships, which will be hosted by Wichita State.

The other SEC teams advancing were Georgia and Vanderbilt from the San Antonio Regional, Texas A&M and Kentucky from the Raleigh Regional, Alabama and Auburn from the Auburn Regional, and South Carolina from the Eugene Regional.

Sports on 05/18/2014