Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (Univ. of Ark) - Behind sophomore Taylor Moore's first career top five finish, the No. 7 University of Arkansas men's golf team capped its season-opening weekend at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational in fourth place out of a loaded field of 15 teams that included eight in the top 25.
The reigning Co-SEC Freshman of the Year, Moore fired a one-under 69 to jump four spots on the final day and into a tie for fourth place in the 75-player field that included 16 members on Golf World's Preseason Top 50 Players to Watch list. Moore was Arkansas' low-man in two of three rounds, finishing with a score of 72-71-69(-1)/212. The Edmond, Okla. product led the Razorbacks with 36 pars and eight birdies over the weekend, playing even-par golf on the front nine.
Moore's final round one-under 69 highlighted a team score of 290 that gave the Razorbacks a three-round score of 294-287-290/871. Arkansas finished in front of four ranked teams, including one top 10. No. 1 Alabama (849) took home the team title by 18 strokes over No. 3 Texas (867), while No. 8 Oklahoma State (869) finished third.
"This weekend was a good experience for our guys because we learned a lot of about ourselves and what areas we need to improve on," said head coach Brad McMakin. "I liked the way we handled the conditions, which were different every day, but there are other things we've got to get better at in order to play up to our potential. Next weekend will be another great field of teams that will present another challenge."
Senior Sebastian Cappelen picked up his 23rd career top 15 finish by tying for 12th place overall. Cappelen's final round 74 on Sunday gave him three counting scores this weekend, as he finished as the tournament leader in par 5 scoring at four-under. Cappelen's three-day score of 218 (75-69-74) was highlighted by a one-under 69 on Saturday.
Playing his 100th collegiate round, senior Blake Biddle turned in his best round of the weekend with an even-par 70 that vaulted him from a tie for 42nd place into a tie for 29th in the final standings. Biddle's round featured 14 pars, as he improved each day with scores of 76, 75 and 70. Redshirt sophomore Kolton Crawford and sophomore Nicolas Echavarria each turned in 77s to round out the scoring. Playing in his first event since the spring of 2012, Crawford tied for 39th place (74-72-77/223). Echavarria's opening round 73 was his lowest score of the weekend as he finished in a tie for 61st.
Arkansas will make its second trip to the state of Illinois in a week when it opens play at the Windon Memorial Classic. Hosted by Northwestern at Knollwood Country Club, the Windon Memorial Classic will begin with 36 holes on Sunday, Sept. 22.