Tom Murphy is a sports 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. He was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Razorbacks qualify for NCAA golf championships
Arkansas' Segundo Oliva Pinto won the individual title at the 2021 SEC Men's Golf Championships. (Photo courtesy Arkansas Athletics)
Led by a pair of 2-under 69s from senior Segundo Oliva Pinto and junior Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira, Arkansas surged to a team score of 3 under in the final round of the NCAA Columbus (Ohio) Regional on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks finished fourth and qualified for a spot at the NCAA championships starting next Friday.
No. 14 Arkansas wound up at 7 over for the 54-hole regional, played on the par 71 Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club, three shots ahead of East Tennessee State, which grabbed the final qualifying spot from the regional.
The Razorbacks qualified for the NCAA championships for the 19th time in school history and the eighth in 16 seasons under Coach Brad McMakin.
Arkansas will be joined by No. 2 Oklahoma State and No. 11 Georgia Tech, which both shot 3 under on the 7,422-yard tract and tied at 10 under for the tourney, host Ohio State (+4) and the Buccaneers of the Southern Conference.
All five Arkansas golfers were in the top 40 with just a few golfers remaining on the course.
The Razorbacks started the day in sixth place, but got to work early with seven birdies on the first five holes after teeing off on No. 10. Pinto and junior Wil Gibson made the turn at 2 under, with Fernandez de Oliveira at even par and senior Luke Long at 1 over.
Fernandez de Oliveira birdied Nos. 4 and 7 down the stretch to close out his round and finish at 1 over for the regional.
Pinto was at 3 under through 7 holes, then played his back nine in even par to wind up at 4 over for the event, tied with teammate Julian Perico, who got the Razorbacks off to a good start on Monday with a 68 to seize the first-round lead.
The Razorbacks counted Gibson’s 71 and Long’s 72 on Wednesday and did not count Perico’s 75.
The Arkansas surge corresponded with sub-par days from Atlantic Coast Conference teams in No. 23 Clemson, which opened the day in fourth place, and Duke, which was one shot behind the Razorbacks.
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