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.
Razorbacks odd team out at NCAAs
Brooke Mathews tees off during the Arkansas Women's Stroke Play tournament that got underway at Chenal Country Club Tuesday morning, June 16, 2020, at the Chenal Country Club in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/John Sykes Jr.)
The No. 17 University of Arkansas women’s golf team was the odd team out on a rough final day at the NCAA Louisville Regional after falling in a one-hole playoff against No. 1 South Carolina on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks and Gamecocks were tied at 5 over to start the day and tied at 15 over after struggling over the 6,289-yard University of Louisville Golf Club layout.
On the extra hole, the par-5 ninth, Arkansas’ Brooke Matthews and South Carolina’s Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, the nation’s No. 1 player and SEC player of the year, both posted eagles. The Razorbacks’ Julia Gregg birdied, as did each of the Gamecocks’ other four golfers. The final three Arkansas players shot par, giving South Carolina a 6 under on the extra hole to Arkansas’ 3 under.
“This one stings a lot as our team has worked hard and persevered all year long,” Arkansas Coach Shauna Taylor said. “At SECs, we were on the right side of one shot and this week, we fell one short. I’m proud of our team but also know they learned a lot this week.”
The rest of the day was much tougher on all the Arkansas golfers. The Razorbacks were in a tie for second place at the start of the round, but got off to a shaky start and never really recovered. Each of the five Arkansas golfers had two bogeys through five holes.
No. 8 Florida State captured the regional with a team score of 8-over 872, three shots ahead of No. 16 Texas and No. 25 UCLA.
No. 9 Auburn was the only team to break par on the day, a 2-under 286 allowing the Tigers to move up eight spots and tie for fourth at 14 over with Michigan State. The Gamecocks took the sixth and final spot to move on to the NCAA Championships to be played May 21-26 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
UCLA’s Emma Spitz ran away with medalist honors, firing a 4-under 68 on Wednesday to win by five shots with an 8 under for the tournament.
Florida State’s Amelia Williamson and Tennessee’s Mikayla Bardwell, whose 6-under 66 was the best round of the regional, tied for second place at 3 under.
The Razorbacks, who had the regional’s best round with a 6-under 282 on Tuesday, could find only eight birdies in the final round, which was more than offset by 24 bogeys.
Arkansas sophomore Kajal Mistry had the most consistent day with a final round 73, based on two bogeys and one birdie, to tie for 12th place at 1 over. Freshman Cory Lopez, who entered the final round tied for eight place at 2 under, shot a nonscoring 78 and fell back to 24th.
Sophomore Ela Anacona shot a final round 75 and tied for 27th at 5 over. Matthews had a 76 on Wednesday and finished at 9 over and tied for 45th. Gregg provided a counting score of 74 on Wednesday and moved up to a tie for 57th at 11 over.
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.