Slow starts in any sport hurt the team’s hopes of winning.
Arkansas got off to a slow start – again – at the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate, but this time the team came storming back to win its first tournament of the season.
The Razorbacks won after an opening round of 18-over 306.
Actually, the team has posted a high first-round number in each of its first four tournaments. The Razorbacks’ first-round team scoring average is a 299.
“It’s an ongoing problem in the first round, then we’re good after that,” head coach Brad McMakin said. “It’s held us back from being where we thought we’d be at this time.”
Neither McMakin nor the team, can figure out why the first-round number is so high, but the team always bounces back.
In the second and final rounds, the team averages a daily score of 286.
The second round, most of the time, puts the team back in a position to win and that’s all McMakin can ask for.
It also helped that three-time All-American Sebastian Cappelen won the individual title for his fourth collegiate win in Carmel, Ind. He was the only player to shoot under par in all three rounds at Crooked Stick.
Now the team’s preparation turns to the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, its last tournament of the fall season.
Having played at Olympic Fields in September and Crooked Stick, McMakin believes those difficult courses will help his team at the 7,544-yard, par-72 course in Windermere, Fla.
“We won’t be able to contend if we get off to the start we’ve been having, but if we can take what the course gives us and not attack it too much, we have a chance at winning,” he added.
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You may have noticed that a specific player was missing from the California lineup during its 22-shot victory at the Alister MacKenzie.
2012-13 College Player of the Year Michael Kim came down with a cold Oct. 10, the Thursday prior to the start of Cal’s home event. Neither Kim nor head coach Steve Desimone wanted to risk him getting more sick, so he was taken out of the lineup and senior Pace Johnson was inserted.
Kim added that the team is very deep, therefore when someone gets sick or can’t go to a tournament, it’s easy for someone to step right in.
The cold could still be heard in Kim’s voice Wednesday during a phone interview, but he said he was on the mend. He plans on making the trip with the team to the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational and starting his title defense.
“It’s definitely one of my favorite tournaments of the year,” he said. “and playing that course is an awesome experience.”
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Recent UNLV graduate Kevin Penner is making his PGA Tour debut at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin this week.
Penner won the Web.com Tour’s First Stage of Q-School at Maricopa, Ariz., on Oct. 11.
Former teammate Blake Biddle, who now plays at Arkansas, tweeted: “Looking forward to heading to Vegas this weekend to watch my man @kpenner make his PGA Tour debut!”