The Arkansas women’s and men’s golf teams finished strong at the first Blessings Collegiate Invitational golf tournament in Fayetteville Oct. 5-7. The tournament, presented by Tyson Foods, featured the men's and women's teams from all 14 Southeastern Conference programs.
The women swept all awards, along with winning the team championship while the men’s team finished strong at third place.
Segundo Oliva Pinto led the Hogs for the event with his seventh-career top-10 finish. He had five birdies on Wednesday and posted a 73 in the final round to tie for eighth with a one-under-par, 54-hole score of 215 (70-73-73).
Despite the men’s team’s third-place finish, both teams combined to win “best ball,” finishing 12 over par. Julian Perico and Brooke Matthews finished 22 under par, taking the combined individual “best ball” award. South Carolina came in second place with a +35 for the whole event. There was also a four-way tie for second place at -21 in combined “best ball” that included Arkansas’ Manuel Lozada and Ela Anacona .
“I was encouraged and, for the most part, I thought we played well,” men’s head coach Brad McMakin said in a post-event interview. “To be playing in our first event since March versus this tough field on this tough course, I could not be more pleased. We are so grateful to Mr. (John) Tyson for putting this event on, the GOLF Channel for covering it and the leaders of the Southeastern Conference for making Fall golf a reality.”
The Razorbacks shot the lowest in the field during the Wednesday round. They also finished the event with a tournament-most 59 birdies.
The Alabama Crimson Tide won the men’s title for the three-day event with a total of 868 (+4), followed by the Tennessee Volunteers at 873 and Arkansas at 876.
Lozada tied for 16th in his collegiate debut. Coming out of Cordoba, Argentina, he put up +3 and dropped a shot on the final hole, but still finished with a total of 219 (72-74-73).
Starting off slow with a par-5 on the second hole, Perico bounced back with a birdie on the par-4 fourth hole. He also managed two birdies on holes 8 and 10 to get two-under. Perico ended his performance with a par for a 1-under-par 71. Perico tied for 21st with a 54-hole score of four-over, 220 (74-75-71).
Matthews clinched the individual title with one-over 73 to give her a three-day total of 206 (-10). She was five strokes ahead of Ingrid Linblad of the LSU Tigers. Matthews had a 18-hole score of 66 and a 54-hole score of 206.
Cory Lopez tied for 11th in her first collegiate event. She played one-over 73 to keep inside the top 15. Lopez birdied three of the last four holes on the final day.
Reeder birdied on four of his first six holes and kept a four-under through hole 11. However, he had four straight bogeys, including a six on the par-5 15th because he hit a drive in the penalty area. Reeder tied for 30th overall with a 7-over-par total of 223 (77-74-72).
Julia Gregg had an even 72 on day three to place in the top-20. She tied for 18th in her second career top-20 finish
The men’s team will be teeing off next at Vanderbilt’s Legends Collegiate Invitational in Franklin, Tennessee. The event will take place from Oct. 25-27, with all 14 SEC men's programs attending. The women’s team will take to the course next at Ole Miss Oct. 19-21.