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.
Cappelen's prosperous collegiate career nears end
Arkansas' Sebastian Cappelen acknowledges spectators during the opening round of the NCAA men's Regional Golf Tournament Thursday, May 16, 2013 at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- As important as senior Sebastian Cappelen has been for the men's golf team at Arkansas the past four years, it seems the program has been just as beneficial for the easygoing Dane.
"There's so much more to it than I could ever imagine," Cappelen said. "I mean, I thought I was just coming to play golf and have fun. It's actually taken me somewhere, which is interesting. It's fun."
Sebastian Cappelen glance
HOMETOWN Odense, Denmark
AGE 24 (April 14, 1990)
RANKING No. 19 by Golfstat and Golfweek
HONORS Three-time All-American. … Four-time All-SEC selection, including three first-team seasons. … Four career victories, including medalist honors at the SEC Championships in 2013.
NOTEWORTHY Arkansas’ all-time scoring leader with a 71.9 stroke average. … Cappelen owns three of Arkansas’ top-10 scoring averages. … Posted 19th career top-10 finish at the NCAA Columbia Regional last week. … Carded a counting score in 35 of 36 rounds this season, including 17 under-par rounds, and in 131 of 141 career rounds. … Low man in 56 of 141 career rounds and team’s top finisher in 20 of 48 tournaments. … Lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Jordan Niebrugge at last summer’s Western Amateur at The Alotian Club. … Son of Ulrik and Kirsten Cappelen. His father Ulrik was a national team soccer player for Denmark.
Cappelen, a native of Odense, Denmark, was preparing to turn pro four years ago before buying Coach Brad McMakin's sales pitch to give the Arkansas golf team the old college try.
Now, after the most decorated career in Arkansas golf history, including winning medalist honors at the SEC Championships in 2013, Cappelen is on the verge of his final college tournament with a business economics degree to boot.
Cappelen and the Razorbacks will compete in the first round of the NCAA Championships at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan.
"He's had the best career of anybody as a Razorback," McMakin said, referencing Cappelen's credentials as a three-time Palmer Cup team member and a three-time All-American. "That and what he's done in the classroom, being a great student and just a great advocate for our program, it's amazing.
"He's put us back on the map nationally and in recruiting."
Cappelen, Arkansas' all-time stroke average leader at 71.9, will enter the NCAA Championships ranked No. 19 by both Golfstat and Golfweek, and after that it's on to a pro career.
"I'm going to enjoy this as long as it lasts," Cappelen said. "It's my last tournament, and hopefully we make it a good one."
McMakin came across Cappelen while in Europe at a tournament watching David Lingmerth, a Swede and a former Razorback.
"He actually was going to turn pro and we kind of convinced him to come try out college for a while and he loved it," McMakin said. "He's just a true Razorback."
McMakin said the value of Cappelen's continued presence near the top of the rankings has been immeasurable, even helping the Razorbacks land another top Danish player, Emil Sogaard of Ikast.
"I can't thank him enough for what he's done," McMakin said. "He's been an unbelievable kid, too."
Cappelen's teammates echoed McMakin's thoughts.
"He's been a great teammate and a great friend and it's kind of sad seeing it come to an end, but I've made a friend for life," sophomore Taylor Moore said.
Sophomore Kolton Crawford said the beauty in watching Cappelen's game is that you learn new things.
"You learn some stuff, what he does and why he's so good," Crawford said. "His chipping and short game is so good that any of us would be happy to basically imitate what he does."
Cappelen said he plans to live in Fayetteville for a couple of more years as he gets adjusted to playing professionally.
"I'm trying to not make everything new right off the bat," he said. "It's going to be a huge transition starting to play pro golf. I know it's still just golf, but it's going to be a different setup.
"I'll never forget my time here. It's been so great, and I'll always come back here. I love our football games, and I love our campus. It's so nice. Our coaches are great. I'll always be back here."
Sports on 05/22/2014