ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Freshmen Thomas Sorensen and Kolton Crawford carded final rounds of one-over par, 71, on Sunday to lead the No. 9 University of Arkansas men's golf team to a fifth-place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championships.
The Razorbacks shot nine-over par as a team on Sunday to finish at 15-over par for the weekend. No. 7 Alabama won the SEC title with a team score of 12-under par, making them just the second team in 10 years of play at the Seaside Course on St. Simons Island to win the event with a score under par. No. 2 Auburn finished second at six-under par with Florida (+1), Georgia (+10) and Arkansas (+15) rounding out the top five.
"Our freshmen played great today," Arkansas Head Coach Brad McMakin said. "They really stepped up to some challenging conditions and showed that they can play at this level. The winds today were different than they were the other two days and that didn't faze those guys for an instant. I am disappointed that we were not able to win, but know that we still have some bigger tournaments to play before the end of the season."
Competition at the tournament was moved up 30 minutes to accommodate storms that were expected to move through the area, putting Arkansas on the first tee at 7:30 a.m. eastern. After about 20 minutes of play a light rain began to fall on the course and the ever present winds on the Atlantic shore of St. Simons Island began to pick up. The rain fell for roughly an hour before stopping, but the looming clouds chill in the air persisted the rest of the day.
Sorensen did not allow the weather to effect his game as he sank par putt after par putt. Even through nine holes with nine pars, Sorensen made his first bogey on No. 10, a hole that hurt Arkansas all weekend. Another bogey on 11 put him in danger of getting a bigger score, but birdies on 13 and 15 put the Dane back at even par. A bogey on the par four, 16th, moved him back to one-over par where he would finish after a pair of pars on 17 and 18. Sorenson's final round of 71 placed him in a tie for 15th overall and matches the seventh best score by a Razorback at the SEC Championships in 21 competitions.
Crawford's round was eerily similar to Sorensen's in that he also carded two birdies and three bogeys on Sunday. Opening the round with a bogey on the first, Crawford made the turn at one-under par after back-to-back birdies in seven and eight. Crawford's bogey on 10 moved him back to even par and he would close with seven pars and a bogey on 14. His 14th hole could have been much worse, but he came up with a great save on the hole after his second shot found the thatch right of the green.
Junior Austin Cook started with a pair of bogeys over his first three holes, but responded with a birdie on the par four, fourth to get back to one-over par. Another bogey on No. 6 left him at two-over par at the turn and the third-year player settled in to make eight pars over his final nine holes to finish at three-over par for the day. Cook would tie for 23rd overall with a three-day score of 215, five-over par.
Sophomore Sebastian Cappelen sank four birdie putts on Sunday to lead the Razorbacks in that category, but he also had five bogeys and a triple bogey to finish the day at four-over par. Following a bogey on No. 3, Cappelen hit his tee shot on No. 4 left and into the water which led to his triple bogey. He came back strong with a pair of birdies on two of the next three holes, but a bogey on No. 8 had him at three-over at the turn. His back nine started with a bogey on No. 10 and two birdies and bogeys later he finished up at four-over.
Playing in his final SEC Championship, senior Ethan Tracy had a solid round going before back-to-back double bogeys on 10 and 11 raised his score to five-over par. The fourth-year player closed the round with seven straight pars to finish the tournament at 215, five-over par and in a tie for 23rd.
The Razorbacks now await the announcement of NCAA Regional competition which is scheduled for early May. The Regionals are the gateway to the NCAA Championships and will be contested in mid-May.
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