HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Behind senior Sebastian Cappelen’s 20th career top 10 finish, the Arkansas men’s golf team improved its score for the second straight round at the NCAA Championships, carding a final round one-under 279 to finish the 54 holes of stroke play in a tie for 18th place at Prairie Dunes Country Club.
After playing the first eight holes of their final round on Sunday afternoon before lightning halted play, the Razorbacks returned to the course on Monday to resume their round at 7:30 a.m. along with the other 14 teams in the wave. Arkansas started the final round in 24th place and was able to move into a tie for 18th thanks to its 279 being one of just six under-par team scores in the final round.
Arkansas’ 18th place finish wasn’t enough to advance into the eight-team match play field that will begin on Tuesday. The Razorbacks have advanced to match play once since it was started, finishing second in the format’s first year in 2009.
“I’m really proud of the guys for battling until the end. Ultimately the slow start cost us, but the guys never hung their heads and they continued to believe they could make a run,” Arkansas coach Brad McMakin said. “It’s tough to see Sebastian play his final round as a Razorback. He has meant so much to our program on and off the course. He’s got a very bright future ahead of him.”
Fittingly, Cappelen finished his illustrious four-year career as a Razorback with an under-par round, the 54th of his career. Cappelen’s two-under 68 in the final round was his second of the tournament, finishing off a 68-71-68/207 scorecard to tie for ninth place and earn All-American status for the fourth time. The Denmark native was Arkansas’ low-man all three rounds, carding 12 birdies to bring his career total to 441.
“I’m going to take a lot away from being a Razorback,” Cappelen said following his 144th round as a Razorback. “Arkansas is a special place and I can’t thank my coaches, teammates and everyone I’ve come in contact with over my four years enough for an amazing experience.”
During the spring season and especially in postseason play, Arkansas got a good look at the future of its program in its three-member sophomore class of Kolton Crawford, Taylor Moore and Nicolas Echavarria. Coming off a fifth place finish at the Columbia Regional, Crawford turned in a final round even-par 70 to finish in a tie for 69th place. Crawford carded 11 birdies over his three-round score of 215 (74-71-70), marking the sixth time in the last seven events he’s had double figure birdies. Crawford shot 75 or lower in all nine rounds at the SEC Championship, NCAA Regionals and NCAA Championships.
Moore’s 17th round this year at par or lower came in the final round, as he equaled Crawford’s even-par 70. A PING All-Central Region honoree, Moore finished his sophomore campaign with a counting score in 25 straight rounds thanks to a 75-72-70/217 three-round total that earned him a share of 82nd place. Moore turned in a sensational spring that featured a 71.5 scoring average and five top 15 finishes.
Echavarria played the first 13 holes of his final round bogey-free before turning in the fourth counting score with a one-over 71. Like all four of his teammates, Echavarria’s lowest round at the tournament came in the final round as he tied for 89th position (75-72-71). A year removed from finishing 13th at the 2013 NCAA Championships as a freshman, Echavarria has now turned in a counting score in 14 of 15 rounds of postseason play in his career.
Playing in his first event of the spring, senior Blake Biddle capped his one-year career as a Razorback with a 73. A transfer from UNLV, Biddle made his first NCAA Championships appearance, but had a pair of top 10s at NCAA Regionals as a freshman and sophomore. He tied for 141st place with rounds of 76, 79 and 73.
T9. Sebastian Cappelen – 68-71-68/207 (-3)
T69. Kolton Crawford – 74-71-70/215
T82. Taylor Moore – 75-72-70/217
T89. Nicolas Echavarria – 75-71-71/218
T141. Blake Biddle – 76-79-73/228