Tyson Reeder returns to Karsten Creek as member of Arkansas

Arkansas Athletics Communications

Tyson Reeder returns to Karsten Creek as member of Arkansas

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Tyson Reeder returns to Karsten Creek as member of Arkansas

STILLWATER, Okla. – Tyson Reeder grew up an Oklahoma State fan. His parents went there. As did his grandparents. So when Reeder signed his national letter of intent to play golf for the Cowboys a few years ago, his dream of playing at Division I golf’s most storied program and getting a chance to chase NCAA titles had come true.

It took a few years, but Reeder is finally competing in an NCAA Championship this week – and at Oklahoma State’s home course, Karsten Creek. He just isn’t wearing orange and black.

“It’s crazy how I ended up here at the national championship,” said Reeder, a redshirt sophomore who transferred to Arkansas after last fall. “But I’m glad to be here.”

Reeder arrived in Stillwater in Fall 2015 after winning three state titles just down the road at Edmond North High School, a school that produced PGA Tour players Robert Streb and Kevin Tway, as well as three current Oklahoma State golfers, Austin Eckroat, Nick Heinen and Hayden Wood. (Augusta’s Laken Hinton, another Edmond North product, is also competing at this week’s NCAA Championship.)

But Reeder redshirted his first year and then played in just four events his redshirt-freshman season. He did notch top-10s in three of those starts, but didn’t crack the lineup last fall. Wanting to play more and with the top-ranked Cowboys loaded in the depth department, Reeder then made the decision to transfer.

“We were all really bummed when we found out he was going because he was such a great teammate,” Oklahoma State’s Sam Stevens said. “At the end of the day, he was just trying to do what was best for him. He wanted some playing time and I think he probably would’ve ended up getting it here, maybe next year, but he wanted to get going and start getting that experience now. You can’t hold that against him.”

Said Reeder: “It was tough to leave, but I’m glad I found a new home in Arkansas.”

Known as a gritty competitor, Reeder fit right in with the Razorbacks, whom he had considered in his initial recruiting process. Arkansas needed him, too, as Charles Kim was dismissed from the team during the fall and sophomore Dylan Naidoo suffered an injury in January.

Reeder played all eight events for Arkansas and though he only recorded one top-10 and had a 74.6 scoring average, he improved every tournament and came up big when the Razorbacks needed him most. He opened the SEC Championship in 73-72 and then closed the NCAA Norman Regional in 72-71. At regionals, the Razorbacks vaulted from 10th to fourth on that final day to make it to nationals, and Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin called the final nine holes of that round one of the best moments of his coaching career.

“He has helped us tremendously in the postseason,” McMakin said. “He’s a really good player, just a lot of inexperience. The talent level is off the charts. I’m really impressed with him.”

Added Arkansas senior Alvaro Ortiz: “He’s a big reason why we’re here.”

Reeder has gained confidence from his new team, especially McMakin, who has a reputation for building PGA Tour-quality players.

“He just believes in me,” Reeder said. “He believes in me so much that I’ve started to believe in myself a little more.”

Reeder, playing as Arkansas’ No. 5 man, began his first NCAA Championship with an impressive par on the difficult par-4 10th hole in rainy and windy conditions. He then birdied the par-3 11th and at 1 under held a share of the lead for a brief moment. He gave some shots back toward the end, and his 5-over 77 didn’t end up counting for Arkansas, which shot 8 over as a team. But McMakin is confident Reeder will still contribute to the team score this weekend.

“I’m sure he has a lot of thing going through his head, playing here and coming back,” McMakin said. “… He was close to those guys at Oklahoma State. They were all good friends, he grew up with them, and I think he’s got a little bit of he wants to play really well to show them what he’s about.”

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