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. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Hogs 2nd entering 3rd round at SEC golf championships
A Razorback head cover sits in a golf bag at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers during practice rounds for the Walmart NWA Arkansas Championship.
The University of Arkansas held the lead for much of the day at Sea Island Golf Club before a dip late in the day dropped the Razorbacks to second heading into the final round of stroke play at the SEC men’s golf championships in St. Simons Island, Ga.
Arkansas’ Segundo Oliva Pinto, whose 64 topped the leaderboard on Wednesday, also held the lead for most of the day before a double bogey on No. 18 dropped the junior into second place.
Playing in tough, windy conditions, the No. 22 Razorbacks carded a 6-over par on the par 70 Sea Island Course to move up a spot in the standings. The day’s biggest mover was Alabama, which surged to the front with a 3-under 277, the only round under par among the 14 teams. The Crimson Tide will take a three-shot lead into the final round before the top eight are seeded for match play on Saturday.
Pinto had three birdies and three bogeys on his card before the trouble on 18 put him at 2 over for the day and 4 under for the tournament, one stroke behind Georgia’s Spencer Ralston and a stroke ahead of LSU’s Connor Gaunt. The medalist will be crowned after Friday's third round.
Arkansas senior William Buhl played the back nine in 1 under and shot 1-over 71 for the day to tie for ninth place at even par 140. Freshman Manuel Lozada also shot 71 on Thursday, with two bogeys and one birdie, and is tied for 27th at 4-over 144.
Junior Julian Perico fired a 2 over as the Razorbacks’ final counter and his 6-over 146 is tied for 38th. Senior Tyson Reeder is tied for 35th with a 145, but a double bogey on the 16th dropped him to a non-counting 3 over on Thursday.
Coach Brad McMakin’s Razorbacks are the defending champions, having knocked off top seed Auburn 3-2 in the 2019 match play final. Covid-19 wiped out last year’s postseason.
The Razorbacks will tee off at 8:10 a.m. Friday on No. 1 with playing partners Alabama and Georgia.
The day’s best rounds belonged to Ralston and Alabama’s Thomas Ponder, who both shot 67s as two of only six golfers to go under par.
Ponder, who is tied for fourth at 2-under 138, and his Tide teammate Davis Shore led Alabama’s 5-under charge on the back nine. Shore is at 139 and tied for seventh.
Day 1 leader and No. 10 Georgia carded a 10-over on Thursday and is a stroke behind Arkansas, tied for third place with No. 23 LSU at 5 over. The other teams in the top eight are No. 14 Auburn (+7), No. 15 Vanderbilt (+9), No. 19 Tennessee (+9) and South Carolina, on the cut line at 11 over.
No. 11 Texas A&M has been the biggest disappointment, as the Aggies’ 13 over on Thursday dropped them into 12th at 19 over.
Other teams with work to do to reach the final eight are No. 17 Florida (+15), Kentucky (+15), Missouri (+17), Mississippi State (+35) and Ole Miss (+37).
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.