No. 23 Arkansas finishes strong to take victory in Gator Invitational
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Behind a pair of two-under par 68s from senior Sebastian Cappelen and sophomore Taylor Moore, No. 23 Arkansas expanded on its three-stroke lead entering the final round with a team score of one-under 279 en route to capturing the Gator Invitational by six strokes on Sunday at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.
The tournament title is the second of the year for the Razorbacks, who captured the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate in the fall. Sunday’s win came against a competitive field of 14 teams that featured five teams in the Golf World/Nike Golf Top 25 ranking.
Arkansas accounted for two of the five lowest team rounds during Saturday’s opening 36 holes, while its 279 on Sunday was one of three under-par rounds turned in by the field. The two-day total of 286-284-279/849 finished six strokes ahead of No. 22 Florida State, nine in front of No. 21 Vanderbilt and 14 ahead of No. 8 UCF.
“I’m very proud of the team for coming out of the winter break with a lot of focus,” said head coach Brad McMakin, who has led Arkansas to 19 team wins. “I thought our approach from the start was really good and the guys were mentally prepared. Everyone contributed to this win. It was a complete team effort.”
After strong winds made Saturday’s opening 36 holes on the par 70, 6701-yard course even more challenging, Sunday presented perfect scoring conditions as Cappelen and Moore both finished even-par or lower on each side. The duo finished in a tie for fourth overall, just four strokes off the lead and they were two of just five players in the field of 75 to shoot even-par or lower during the two days.
A member of The Ben Hogan Award Watch List, Cappelen was Arkansas’ low-man in two of three rounds with a 71-71-68/210(E) scorecard. Cappelen, a Denmark native, had 12 birdies, the third-most in the field. He’s now finished in the top five in three of six events this year.
After just two birdies over the first 36 holes, Moore carded six on Sunday for his four under-par round of the year and a season-low 68. Moore’s 68 followed rounds of 72 and even-par 70, as he was Arkansas’ leader with 30 pars over the weekend.
Making his first start of the year, redshirt senior William Meason turned in an impressive performance by tying for 14th overall. Meason entered Sunday as the Razorbacks’ low-man after rounds of 72 and one-under 69 on Saturday. Meason was bogey-free over his first 12 holes during Saturday’s second round as his 69 was a career-low. He three-round 72-69-75/216 was also a career-best by eight strokes.
Redshirt sophomore Kolton Crawford and sophomore Nicolas Echavarria rounded out five players in the top 30. Both Crawford and Echavarria turned in two counting scores en route to tying for 30th with scores of 220.