Razorbacks sweep rain-shortened Blessings Invitational

Arkansas' men's and women's golf teams are shown Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 following the Blessings Collegiate Invitational awards ceremony at Blessings Golf Club in Johnson.

JOHNSON— Arkansas’ men’s and women’s golf teams swept team and individual titles at a weather-shortened 2023 Blessings Collegiate Invitational.

The tournament’s final round was not played Wednesday due to steady rainfall in the area, so results were scored from the 36 holes played Monday and Tuesday. 

The No. 11 Arkansas men set the invitational’s 36-hole record with a 13-under 563 and held off runner-up Mississippi State by 6 strokes. The third-ranked Arkansas women shot an 11-under 565 and defeated second-place Mississippi State by 14 shots.

“I was really happy with the way they played,” Arkansas men’s coach Brad McMakin said. “Obviously we'd have liked to play today. It's always good to have the guys in competition, but we kind of knew the weather was going to be shaky on Wednesday, so we had the team mentally prepared to get off to a good start.

“Unfortunately, it rained out, but I think we were the better team this week.”

Arkansas women’s coach Shauna Taylor echoed McMakin’s sentiments and was proud of her team for making the most of its two days on the course.

“Our team played excellent,” Taylor said. “I was just talking to our staff about how we just are hard to beat here at home because we're very tactical. We play out here a lot, we know when we get out of position how to get it back into position really well, and we have a really deep team. We had a lot of good momentum through the week.

“I love this team. Their chemistry is great, the energy is great, their work ethic is great and it's a special group.”

Freshman Maria José Marin had the invitational’s top overall score with a 10-under 134. She birdied 16 times – eight times each round – and won the women’s individual championship by three strokes. She held off reigning SEC golfer of the year Julia Lopez Ramirez of Mississippi State.

“It feels really great to win my first event,” José Marin said. “I was so close to winning the first event [Carmel Cup] at Pebble Beach three weeks ago. This just feels like a blessing to win a home event.”

Taylor said her star freshman catching fire helped the entire team find its groove.

“When you have somebody like Maria make 16 birdies in two days, you see a lot of good stuff happening,” Taylor said. “It can be contagious, and it was.”

On the men’s side, Arkansas' John Driscoll, a graduate transfer from Northwestern, won the individual title with an 8-under 136. He shot a 4-under 68 each round, and birdied of holes No. 3, 8 and 17 each day. Driscoll bogeyed three times over 36 holes.

“I think mentally he was ready to come out and compete really good this week,” McMakin said. “I think being at home and having the home course advantage, I knew he knew he thought it was a great chance for him to get a win. He executed everything really good this week, and played absolutely superb.

“I’m really happy and proud of him. He's a great kid, a hard worker and a great leader of our team. I don't think anybody is more deserving after his play than him to get the win.”

While Driscoll noted his first individual title as a Razorback was special, what stood out to him was the team breaking a record.

“It's just cool to be a part of a team where there's so many good players,” Driscoll said. “I mean, Manuel [Lozada] is fantastic, Thomas [Curry] is a freshman and he's going to be so great, John Daly Jr., he's a stud, and Jacob [Skov Olesen] is really experienced and he's a great player.

“It's just really cool having so many guys that can play at such a high level.”

The Razorbacks’ men’s and women’s teams are scheduled to play at the Jackson T. Stephens Cup beginning next Monday in Dallas.

2023 Blessings Collegiate Invitational Results

Men’s Team Scores

1 – Arkansas – 279-284 = 563 (-13)

2 – Mississippi State – 288-281 = 569 (-7)

3 – Washington – 296-281 = 577 (+1)

4 – Arkansas (B) – 296-287 = 583 (+7)

5 – Kentucky – 293-297 = 590 (+14)

6 – Minnesota – 299-292 = 591 (+15)

7 – Clemson – 297-296 = 593 (+17)

8 – NC State – 299-295 = 594 (+18)

9 – South Carolina – 302-298 = 600 (+24)

10 – North Texas – 317-287 = 614 (+28)

Men’s Individual Scores

1 – John Driscoll (Arkansas) – 68-68 = 136 (-8)

T2 – Alex Goff (Kentucky) – 70-70 = 140 (-4)

T2 – Hunter Logan (Mississippi State) – 73-67 = 140 (-4)

T4 – Brock Winter (Minnesota) – 72-70 = 142 (-2)

T4 – Manuel Lozada (Arkansas) – 69-73 = 142 (-2)

Women’s Team Scores

1 – Arkansas – 285-280 = 565 (-11)

2 – Mississippi State – 289-290 = 579 (+3)

3 – Clemson – 303-283 = 586 (+10)

4 – Arkansas (B) – 291-297 = 588 (+12)

5 – South Carolina – 295-294 = 589 (+13)

6 – North Texas – 304-289 = 593 (+17)

7 – Washington – 295-301 = 596 (+20)

8 – NC State – 301-302 = 603 (+27)

9 – Minnesota – 312-298 = 610 (+34)

10 – Kentucky – 311-303 = 614 (+38)

Women’s Individual Scores

1 – Maria José Marin (Arkansas) – 67-67 = 134 (-10)

2 – Julia Lopez Ramirez (Mississippi State) – 71-66 = 137 (-7)

3 – Miriam Ayora (Arkansas) – 70-70 = 140 (-4)

4 – Ela Anacona (Arkansas) – 68-73 = 141 (-3)

T5 – Abbey Schutte (Arkansas) – 71-71 = 142 (-2)

T5 – Camille Boyd (Washington) – 72-70 = 142 (-2)

T5 – Mason Lewis (North Texas) – 72-70 = 142 (-2)