JHS alum Wil Gibson shoots 71, Arkansas advances to NCAA Men’s Golf Championship
The #14 Arkansas men’s golf team tied for the low round of the day at 3-under-par to move up two spots and finish fourth at the NCAA Columbus Regional with a total score of 859 (+7) to advance to the 2022 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship.
The Razorbacks will compete in their 25th NCAA Championship as a team and advance through Regional qualifying for the 19th time since its inception in 1989, including the fourth time in five tries when the Hogs played in a Regional at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.
Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira and Segundo Oliva Pinto led the charge for the Razorbacks Wednesday as each fired a 2-under-par 69.
Oklahoma State (#1 seed and ranked #2) and Georgia Tech (#2 seed and ranked #11) also carded a 3-under 281 in the final round to tie for the title with a 54-hole score of 842 (-10). Host Ohio State (#6 seed and ranked #35) finished third with a total of 856 (+4) while the third-seeded Razorbacks climbed from eighth to sixth to fourth over three days with scores of 292-286-281 to secure fourth. The fifth and final team to advance was East Tennessee State (ranked 30th) with a score of 862 – four shots ahead of sixth place.
Arkansas got off to a good start and never looked back. Oliva Pinto was 3-under through seven holes and Wil Gibson was 2-under through eight to help put the Hogs at -3 through nine holes. The Razorbacks were able to hold steady on the final nine as Fernandez de Oliveira was 2-under while Luke Long and Oliva Pinto were even par.
Fernandez de Oliveira, who tied for the most pars with 41 over 54 holes, moved up 15 spots to tie for 15th with a final-round 69. Overall, his 1-over-par score of 214 (74-71-69) secured his team-best seventh top-20 finish in 10 stroke events as part of his career year this season. The junior came to Arkansas with just seven career top-20 finishes in two years at TCU.
On Wednesday, he helped set the stage early with a birdie on the opening hole – the par-4 10th. However, he would make the turn at even with bogeys on holes 11 and 14, adding a birdie on the 12th. He closed his opening nine with four pars and opened his closing nine with three. He then birdied the 4th and 7th holes to post his eighth round in the 60′s this season. (He came to Arkansas with just seven rounds in the 60′s in his first two collegiate seasons.)
Oliva Pinto shot up 22 spots to tie for 29th with his 69. The senior finished with a 54-hole score of 217 (76-72-69). On Wednesday, he opened with a pair of pars before carding birdies on three of his next five holes. He fell back to 1-under after back-to-back bogeys on holes 9 and 10 but had a birdie on his 13th hole (the par-5, 4th) with five pars to close out the round.
Gibson turned in his second-straight, even-par round of 71 on Wednesday and jumped 11 spots to tie for 40th (77-71-71=219). The junior bounced back from an opening bogey to finish his first nine with five pars and three birdies to make the turn at 2-under before settling for a 2-over on his final nine.
Julian Perico tied Oliva Pinto for 29th with a three-day total of 217 (68-74-75) and Long tied for 37th (74-72-72=218).
The stroke-play portion of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships is set for May 27-30. It will once again be held at Grayhawk Golf Club – Raptor Course in Scottsdale, Ariz. The top 16 teams after 54 holes will advance to a final round of stroke play at which point an individual champion will be crowned. The top eight teams after the fourth round will advance to match play May 31-June 1.
Arkansas made it through the first cut last season and finished tied for 11th after stroke play was completed.
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