Razorbacks, Cappelen lead at Olympia Fields
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Sebastian Cappelen decided to represent his college instead of his country, and so far the decision is paying off. Cappelen said he passed on an invitation to play this week’s World Amateur Team Championship because it would have caused him to miss two of the best college events of the year: the Olympia Fields Intercollegiate and Jack Nicklaus Intercollegiate at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Cappelen has the individual lead with one round remaining at Olympia Fields, as do his Arkansas Razorbacks. He’s at 3-under 137 (70-67) through two rounds, and one shot ahead of Duke’s Brinson Paolini, who shot 68 Monday. They are the only two players under par through 36 holes.
“I’m here, and I don’t want to have one foot there and one foot here,” Cappelen said. His fellow Dane and Razorback Thomas Sorensen is not at Olympia Fields because he is representing their country at the World Amateur. “The World (Amateur) doesn’t count toward your rankings over here, and that’s what really matters to me. I would love to play, but I just prioritized to play here.”
Arkansas’ 2-under 278 Monday was the best round of the day by six shots. At 1-over 561, the Razorbacks are 12 shots ahead of second-place Auburn. “This golf course is all about placement and management, and they’ve managed their games very well,”Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said. “This golf course, if you’re too aggressive, it will get you.”
On Monday, the Razorbacks counted Cappelen’s 67, a 68 from freshman Taylor Moore, 70 from junior Joe Doramus and 73 from freshman Nicolas Echavarria. Moore was 6 under par for the day, but bogeyed his final four holes.
Moore, one of the nation’s top freshmen, is tied for third at even-par 140 (72-68). Doramus, who’s playing the first event of his career in the Razorback lineup, is tied for fifth at 141 (71-70).
“It’s been fun, just coming out here trying to enjoy it and not get worked up about anything and playing this great course” Doramus said.
The Razorbacks are coming off an 11th-place finish at the Ping-Golfweek Preview, where McMakin said the team struggled on the greens. They were third in the season opener at the Gopher Invitational. Cappelen tied for sixth at the Gopher, but then finished 61st out of 75 players at the Preview.
Cappelen, an honorable-mention All-American, was bogey-free Monday, making birdies on Nos. 1, 10 and 13. He said his recoveries were key to his round. “I’ve been incredible once I’ve gotten in trouble, to recover,” Cappelen said. “I’m not hitting it bad, but whenever I’m a little off I manage to be smart and get it back in play.”
He got up-and-down from 160 yards for par on the 17th Monday, then holed the 50-foot par putt, after driving into the trees right of the fairway. His birdies all came on putts inside 10 feet. He hit 9-iron from a divot to 4 feet on the opening hole, then hit 7-iron to 6 feet on the 10th. His final birdie came at the 13th, where he hit 8-iron to 3 feet.
Another round like today will make him happy that he remained Stateside.