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.
UA men and women open Blessings in 1st place
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 Arkansas men’s and women’s teams capitalized on their home-course knowledge to take the first-round lead at the fourth Blessings Collegiate Invitational on Monday at Blessings Golf Club in Johnson.
Coach Brad McMakin’s No. 11 men, paced by first-round leader senior John Driscoll’s 4-under 68, shot 9-under par to hold a nine-shot lead over No. 20 Mississippi State.
Coach Shauna Taylor’s No. 3 women turned in a 3-under 285 to lead Mississippi State by four shots. The Razorbacks’ ‘B’ team was in third place at 3-over, two shots behind the Bulldogs.
Arkansas freshman Maria Jose Marin carded a 5-under 67 with eight birdies on the 6,503-yard women’s layout to hold a one-stroke lead over senior teammate Ela Anacona, who had an eagle 3 on the 540-yard 2nd hole.
Four Razorback men were among the top five finishers on the rugged 7,720-yard design. Junior Manuel Lozada held sole possession of second place at 3-under, followed by senior Jacob Skov Olesen and Matthis Lefevre, who are tied at 2 under with Kentucky’s Alex Goff.
Arkansas sophomore John Daly was tied with five others at even par.
The Arkansas men’s ‘B’ team was tied for fourth place with No. 3 Washington at 8-over par, three shots behind Kentucky.
On the women’s side, Arkansas senior Miriam Ayora shot a 2-under to tie North Carolina State’s Lauren Olivares Leon in third, while freshman Abbey Schutte tied for fifth at 1-under with Mississippi State’s Julia Lopez Ramirez.
The 54-hole event with free admission is scheduled to continue the next two days at 8:45 a.m. with coverage on the Golf Channel between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each day.
For the women, No. 5 South Carolina and Washington were tied at 7-over to round out the top five, followed by North Carolina State (+13), Clemson (+15), North Texas (+16), Kentucky (+23) and Minnesota (+24).
On the men’s side, Clemson was at 9-over and Minnesota and North Carolina State were at 11-over and within striking distance, followed by South Carolina (+14) and North Texas (+29).
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.