Hogs near bottom of NCAA field
In this photo taken May 20, 2014, Arkansas golfer Sebastian Cappelen practices his putting at the team’s practice facility at the Blessings Golf Course in Johnson, Ark. The senior is a three-time All-American for the Razorbacks, and hopes to end his career with a win at this weekend’s NCAA golf championship in Hutchinson, Kansas. (AP Photos/Kurt Voigt)
The No. 12 Arkansas men's golf team floundered during the weather-interrupted first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships on Saturday and the Razorbacks face long odds at making the eight-team cut for the match-play portion of the tournament.
The Razorbacks had trouble off the tee boxes, with too many balls in the rugged rough, and struggled to a first-round 14-over 292. Arkansas fell back further to 19 over late in the second round, in 29th place, with all five of its golfers still on the course when play was halted due to darkness at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan..
"Unfortunately, if you're just a little off, obviously you're going to find a lot of trouble and we did all day long," Arkansas Coach Brad McMakin said. "We've got to hit the ball in the fairway. We hit the ball really badly off the tee today and we just couldn't play from there."
Only six of the 30 teams completed both rounds. No. 3 Stanford, which was one of those six, held the lead at 12 under. The Cardinal are four strokes ahead of defending champion and No. 1 Alabama, which also completed two rounds, and No. 24 South Carolina, which was one of the 15 teams that has played only one round. There were no weather delays on Saturday, but eight-plus hours of rain delays on Friday has thrown the tournament off course.
The Razorbacks, who sit 23 strokes out of eighth place, will resume play at 7 a.m. today to finish their second round, then will have to wait until all the teams complete the round before the field is re-paired for the final 18 holes of stroke play. The top eight teams advance to match play.
Arkansas occupied sole possession of last place for a brief period during the afternoon before a late surge moved them well ahead of No. 10 Virginia Tech, which is 10 strokes behind them at 29 over.
Senior Sebastian Cappelen is Arkansas' top individual. Cappelen played the opening round at 2-under 68, but he's at 3 over in the second round through 14 holes after a double bogey 6 on his last hole before play was halted. Cappelen's overall score of 1 over is tied for 54th.
Sophomore Kolton Crawford birdied his last four holes and has two holes remaining on an even par second round after he shot 4-over 74 in the first round.
Sophomores Nicolas Echavarria and Taylor Moore are both at 7 over, and senior Blake Biddle is 13 over.
"We just always seem to be a slow-starting team and have been again," McMakin said. "Unfortunately in this kind of atmosphere, in this kind of field, you can't have a slow start. We just had a bad start and it's hard for us to recover."
Stanford's Cameron Wilson, the No. 2 ranked player, is tied for the lead at 6 under with South Carolina's Will Starke, who is No. 98.
Top-ranked Patrick Rodgers of Stanford is a shot back at 5 under along with Oklahoma's Charlie Saxon.
Sports on 05/25/2014