The University of Arkansas closed with a 6-under 282 on Wednesday to finish second at the NCAA Salem (S.C.) Regional and advance to the NCAA Championships.
The No. 35 Razorbacks opened the day with a 7-shot lead, but No. 11 Georgia Tech started hot, passed the Hogs and pulled away to win the regional on the 7,126-yard layout at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls by 8 shots at 53-under par.
Arkansas notched a 45-under, a school record for any 54-hole tournament, and held off No. 2 North Carolina (-43) by 2 shots.
All five Razorbacks finished in the top 40, led by senior Segundo Oliva Pinto, who shot a 1-under 71 and finished 13 under, good for fifth place. Pinto and senior Wil Gibson, who also carded a 71 on Wednesday and tied for eighth at 11 under, broke the school record for lowest score at a regional.
Senior Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira had the day’s top round for a Razorback with a 69 that featured birdies on his final three holes. He tied for 11th at 10-under par.
Senior Julian Perico had a 71 on Wednesday and finished 3 under and tied for 39th, and sophomore Manuel Lozada had an even-par 72 to wind up at 6 under and tied for 23rd.
“We went into this regional with a lot of confidence, but you never expect to have a performance like we had,” Coach Brad McMakin said in a news release. “I couldn’t be prouder of what these guys accomplished, setting all-time school records, having some of the all-time lowest scores in NCAA Regional history and having three players tie or break the previous school records for best scores at a Regional.
“We led for two days and finished runner-up. I don’t know what more we could have asked from this group. It would have been great to win but you just have to tip your cap to Georgia Tech for what they accomplished today and for the Regional. This was exactly the kind of week we needed as we turn our attention to nationals.”
The Razorbacks qualified for the NCAA Championships for the third year in a row and the 20th time in program history.
The top five teams from six regionals will tee it off May 26 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the NCAA Championships.
New Mexico closed with a 17 under to reach -42 and finished fourth in the NCAA Salem Regional. Texas A&M’s Sam Bennett birdied No. 18 to pull the No. 14 Aggies into a tie at 29 under with host Clemson for the final berth out of the regional. The Aggies won the five-hole playoff with a 2 under against Clemson’s 1 under.
No. 23 San Diego State and No. 26 Georgia Southern tied for seventh place at 28 under, one stroke out of the playoff.
The remainder of the field: Northern Illinois (-23), Furman (-12), Middle Tennessee State (-8), Purdue (-2), with Longwood (+10) and Long Island University (+12).