UA golf advances to match play championship round

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Sunday, April 25, 2021
Arkansas’ Segundo Oliva Pinto shot a 2-under 68 on Friday and finished at 6-under 204 to win medalist honors at the SEC Men’s Golf Championships in St. Simons Island, Ga. (University of Georgia/Steven Colquitt)
Arkansas’ Segundo Oliva Pinto shot a 2-under 68 on Friday and finished at 6-under 204 to win medalist honors at the SEC Men’s Golf Championships in St. Simons Island, Ga. (University of Georgia/Steven Colquitt)

Defending SEC champion Arkansas powered into the match play championship round again early Sunday with a decisive 3-1-1 victory over 8 seed Texas A&M at St. Simons Island, Ga.

Freshman Manuel Lozada nailed down the clinching point for the second day in a row, sinking a 9-foot par putt on No. 6 to take down Dan Erickson 4 & 3 in the fourth pairing at Sea Island Golf Club.

SEC individual champion Segundo Oliva Pinto got the 5 seed Razorbacks off to another strong start by dominating senior Walker Lee 4 & 2 in the leadoff spot.

Senior William Buhl followed in the second pairing with a 4 & 2 victory over sophomore William Paysse to make it 2-0. Arkansas senior Tyson Reeder was tied in the third pairing against freshman Daniel Rodrigues through 16 holes when Lozada closed out his match.

In the fifth position, Texas A&M junior Sam Bennett was leading junior Julian Perico by three holes with four to play when the match ended.

The No. 22 Razorbacks will be aiming for their third SEC championship in the final against Vanderbilt, which is just underway. The 7 seed Commodores eliminated Alabama 4-1 on Sunday morning.

The final is available for streaming on SEC Network-Plus.

Coach Brad McMakin’s Razorbacks are also shooting to become the first back-to-back SEC champion since Alabama took three in a row from 2012-14. Arkansas downed Auburn 3-2 at Sea Island in the 2019 SEC championship and the event was not held last year due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Pinto won the first three holes against Lee and his lead never shrank to less than one hole the rest of the way. The junior won successive holes at Nos. 2 and 3 to regain a 3-up lead, then birdied the par 5 7th to clinch the match.

Buhl bogeyed the starting hole on No. 10, but won the next two and never trailed again. The senior from Fairhope, Ala., led by four holes at the turn and cruised to his victory.

Lozada never trailed after his birdie on No. 10 gave him the hole. Erickson managed to forge two ties after that before Lozada pulled away with consecutive wins on Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

Reeder and Rodrigues never led by more than one hole in a match that was tied after 12 different holes. Reeder held the last lead with a birdie on the par 4 2nd hole, but Rodrigues birdied the par 3 3rd to get back into a tie.

Perico got behind after the first hole, took the lead midway through the first nine, but fell back when Bennett won Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in succession.

In the final, Buhl is leading off for Arkansas against Cole Sherwood, and the other pairings, in order, are Reeder vs. Reid Davenport; Pinto vs. Harrison Ott; Lozada vs. William Moll; and Perico vs. Matthew Riedel.

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