JHS alum Wil Gibson tees off in NCAA Championships Friday
The 28th-ranked Arkansas men’s golf program is one of 13 schools that will be making a third-straight appearance at the NCAA Championships, held May 26-31 for the third-straight year in Scottsdale, Ariz., at Grayhawk Golf Club – Raptor Course (par 70).
The Razorbacks have made the top-15 cut after three rounds in each of the past two years before, finishing 11th in 2021 and ninth in 2022, and are hoping to make the next step this season by making the final eight by advancing to match play.
Arkansas is coming off a record-setting performance by finishing runner-up at the NCAA Salem Regional. Arkansas set program records for lowest 18 holes, 36 holes and 54 holes while its 45-under-par score ranked fifth-best in NCAA Regional history with the top five all coming this year as well – three in the Las Vegas Regional and two at the Salem Regional.
The veteran Razorback fivesome includes four University of Arkansas graduates – Wil Gibson, Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira, Segundo Oliva Pinto and Julian Perico, as well as redshirt sophomore Manuel Lozada. All five have played in at least one NCAA Championship.
For Perico, this will be his fourth NCAA Championship, playing as an individual as a freshman in 2019 and helping the Razorbacks to their strong finishes each of the last two years. In fact, Perico is just the fourth Razorback to play in four consecutive NCAA Championships, joining Sean Pappas from 1984-87, Deane Pappas from 1989-92, and Bud Still from 1993-96.
Oliva Pinto and Fernandez de Oliveira have each played in two NCAA Championships. Oliva Pinto only played the first two rounds in 2021 due to illness and he tied Perico for 25th last season, each shooting 288 (+8) over 72 holes. Fernandez de Oliveira helped TCU finish 15th in 2021 then he finished ninth individually last year with a score of 282 (+2) – two strokes off the win total – in leading Arkansas to its team finish of ninth.
Lozada had an opening-round 69 on the Raptor Course in his freshman season but redshirted last season. Gibson saw his first action at the NCAA’s last season.
Oliva Pinto and Gibson are playing at a high level heading into nationals. In the last three events, Oliva Pinto has three top 20 finishes, including two fifth-place finishes, while averaging 68.67 strokes. Gibson also has three top-20 finishes including an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Regional, while averaging 69.33 strokes.
Arkansas will play a practice round on Thursday at Grayhawk then begin competition Friday (May 26) at 9:27 am (CT) off #1 tee with Baylor and Duke. The other four tee times (all CT) will be 9:38 am, 9:49 am, 10 am and 10:11 am. On Thursday, Arkansas will start in the afternoon and begin on hole #10. The third and fourth round pairings will be determined based on the teams’ finish after 36 and 54 holes, respectively. Television coverage will be on GOLF Channel each afternoon during the four rounds of stroke play.
The NCAA Championships format includes three rounds of stroke play (54 holes) for all 30 teams and the six individuals. The top 15 teams (ties will be broken) and top nine individuals not on an advancing team will play a fourth round of stroke play to determine the NCAA Individual Champion and seedings for match play. The top eight teams (tie will be broken) will play the quarterfinals and semifinals of match play on May 30 with the finals to determine the 2023 NCAA Team Champion set for May 31.
Arkansas NCAA Championship History:
26th Team Appearance (9th under head coach Brad McMakin):
1987 (6th), 1988 (12th), 1989 (7th), 1990 (30th), 1991 (T9th), 1992 (8th), 1993 (7th), 1994 (4th), 1995 (Ind.), 1996 (11th), 1997 (T16th), 1999 (T24th), 2000 (Ind.), 2003 (27th), 2005 (T26th), 2009 (2nd), 2011 (15th), 2013 (10th), 2014 (T18th), 2016 (12th), 2017 (Ind.), 2018 (12th), 2019 (Ind.), 2021 (T11th), 2022 (9th), 2023
Razorback 10 Individual Top 10 Finishes:
1st – R.H. Sikes (1963); 2nd – Mason Overstreet (2017); 6th – Gregg Reid (1988), Chris Little (1987) and Mike Swartz (1984); 9th – Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira (2022) and Sebastian Cappelen (2014); 10th – Austin Cook (2011), Andrew Dahl (2003) and Deane Pappas (1992).
2023 NCAA Championships
Dates: STROKE PLAY: May 26-29 (Fri-Mon) • MATCH PLAY: May 30-31 (Tues-Wed)}
Host: Arizona State
Location: Grayhawk Golf Club – Raptor Course || Scottsdale, Ariz.
Par: 70 – Yards: 7,28 yards
Field (listed alphabetically with national rank):
#4 Arizona State
#22 Colorado State
#35 East Tennessee State
#7 Florida State
#11 Georgia Tech
#18 Mississippi State
#46 New Mexico
#2 North Carolina
#23 Ohio State
#40 San Francisco
#14 Texas A&M
#5 Texas Tech
Jonas Baumgartner, Oklahoma State
Will King, Kansas
Sam Lape, Furman
Riley Lewis, Loyola Marymount
Luke O’Neill, Kansas State
Drew Salyers, Indiana
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