Golf: Razorbacks' Cook Leads Arkansans After One Round Of Southern Amateur

by Staff  on Thursday, Jul. 19, 2012 8:30 am  

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Arkansas Razorback golfer Austin Cook, a Jonesboro product, fired a 2-under-par 70 to lead the in-state entrants in the 106th Southern Amateur Golf Championship, being held for the first time in the Natural State, at Chenal's Bear Den course.

Keith Mitchell of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Oliver Schniederjans of Powder Springs, Ga., both finished Wednesday's first round at 4-under 68 to lead the 168 entrants. Motin Yeung of Orlando and Brad Schneider of Valrico, Fla., both trailed by a stroke after the first round with 67s.

Cook was among a group of six golfers at 2-under.

Joey Nichols, a Little Rock lawyer and former UALR golfer, and teenager Conley Hurst, who attends Episcopal Collegiate School, were in a group of 10 golfers tied for 22nd place at even-par 72.

Alex Carpenter, an Arkansas Baptist High School graduate and the 2010 Southern Am winner, finished Wednesday at 3-over 75. Carpenter, entering his senior year at Abilene Christian this fall, struggled on the front side with four bogeys and a double-bogey and made the turn at 5-over. But he rallied with a 2-under 34 over the back nine with birdies on 10, 17 and 18 to offset a bogey at 14.

World No. 1-ranked amateur Bobby Wyatt of NCAA runner-up Alabama was at 1-under 71. Wyatt tees off at 1:50 p.m. Thursday.

Complete results can be found here.

Cook led a quartet of Razorback golfers. Kolton Crawford finished in a tie for 92, Joe Doramus was tied with a group at No. 127 and incoming freshman Zach Coats was in a tie for 155th place.

Cook started the day on Bear Den's par-5 No. 10. Birdie putts on two of the first four holes put him at 2-under, which he maintained through the turn with five pars over Bear Den's demanding closing stretch.

Cook, a rising senior at Fayetteville, carded his first bogey on No. 1, but rebounded with a birdie on No. 2. Cook would reach 3-under with a birdie on No. 7, which lifted hm to third place, but closed his round with a bogey on the par-4 ninth.

Crawford’s round began poorly as he carded a double bogey on the 10th, his first hole, and the Mansfield, Texas, product finished at 5-over 77. Little Rock native Doramus was plagued by five bogeys on the back nine to shoot 7-over 79. The back nine also took its toll on the young Coats, the top golfer in the Class 7A prep ranks last fall at Springdale Har-Ber High, as he had two double-bogeys and shot 9-over over the last nine holes.

Bear Den's Hole No. 6, a 430-yard par-4, played the hardest of any hole in Wednesday's round, averaging more than a stroke-and-a-half over par (4.53). No. 17, a par-3 over water with a new teeing area that stretches the hole  to 208 yards, was the second hardest hole, playing at a 3.515 average. Twenty-four double-bogeys or worse were recorded on No. 17. The 525-yard, par-5 No. 7 played the easiest on the course and had eight of the course's 11 eagles Wednesday.

Following Thursday's second round, the field will be cut. Play begins each day at 7:30 a.m. Admission and parking is free.

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The Razorbacks' Nicolas Echavarria advanced to the round of 32 at the 65th U.S. Junior Amateur.

At the Golf Club of New England, Echavarria was forced to rally late in order to advance to the next stage of the tournament. The 2011 semifinalist got off to a solid start when he won the second hole with a par and was two up after four holes. His opponent, Jacob Ross of Brookhaven, Miss., would come back with a pair of wins to even the match on hole No. 7 and take the lead on No. 8 with a birdie. Ross’ hot streak would continue and by hole No. 13, Ross would find himself up three with five to play.

Faced with a huge hill to climb, Echavarria won each of the next two holes with a pair of par putts. Still down one with three to go, he and Ross both would bogey No. 16 before Echavarria tied the match on the par-3, 17th, when he sank a birdie putt and a par on No. 18 gave the future Razorback the win, 1 up.

Echavarria will face the No. 34 seed Jake Shuman of Needham, Miss., in the round of 32.

Some information for this report was provided by Phil Pierce of the University of Arkansas Sports Media Relations Department.



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