To get back home, Razorbacks must go through Texas

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Thursday, May 2, 2019
Julian Perico of Arkansas hits a tee shot during the Valspar Collegiate Invitational at the Floridian on Monday, March 18, 2019, in Palm City, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Halleran )
Julian Perico of Arkansas hits a tee shot during the Valspar Collegiate Invitational at the Floridian on Monday, March 18, 2019, in Palm City, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Halleran )

FAYETTEVILLE — The state of Arkansas’ two conference champion men’s golf teams are headed in different directions as No. 6 seeds for NCAA regionals on May 13-15.

The No. 35 University of Arkansas was selected to play in the Austin Regional at the University of Texas Golf Club, while No. 32 Arkansas State was bracketed in the NCAA Louisville Regional to be played at the University of Louisville Golf Club in Simpsonville, Ky. The pairings were announced on the Golf Channel on Wednesday night.

The top five teams at each of the six NCAA regionals will advance to comprise the 30-team field at the NCAA Championships at The Blessings Golf Club in Johnson on May 24-29.

The Razorbacks are coming off a 3.5 to 1.5 victory over No. 13 Auburn to win the school’s second SEC championship, and its first since 1995.

Arkansas upset the top three seeds — No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 1 Auburn — during match play to claim the crown at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga.

“We’re definitely playing a lot better,” Arkansas Coach Brad McMakin said during an interview with the Golf Channel during the NCAA selection show. “We had a great week last week and it should give us a lot of confidence going into the postseason.”

The top five seeds in Austin will be No. 1 Texas, No. 2 Southern California, No. 3 Pepperdine, No. 4 Clemson and No. 5 TCU.

Arkansas went into match play at SECs as the No. 7 seeds. Freshman Julian Perico went 3-0 in match play, while junior Luis Garza had two victories before a draw in the victory over Auburn. Juniors William Buhl and Tyson Reeder won two matches each at the SEC championships.

The Red Wolves will be matched up against the tournament’s top seed and defending national champion Oklahoma State.

The other top seeds in Louisville are No. 2 Auburn, No. 3 North Florida, No. 4 Louisville and No. 5 Baylor.

The Red Wolves will be making their fifth appearance at the NCAAs and their first since 2002.

“Keep an eye on them,” said the Golf Channel’s Steve Burkowski, who called Arkansas State his top team to watch while referencing the Red Wolves' peak of No. 17 in the national poll.

Arkansas State downed second-seeded Coastal Carolina and fourth-seeded Louisiana-Monroe as the No. 3 seed to claim its first Sun Belt Conference championship at the Raven Golf Club at Sandestin near Destin, Fla.

Juniors Zan Luka Stirn and Matthew Cole and freshman Luka Naglic all won both their matches at the championships.

The Red Wolves also won the American South Conference title in 1989.

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