One tournament into the season, the Razorback men’s golf team is searching for how to replace four time All-American Sebastian Cappelen.
Head coach Brad McMakin’s team finished next to last in The Carmel Cup, but although the team as a whole struggled, redshirt junior Kolton Crawford paced the Razorbacks, wrapping up his weekend tied for fourth place.
The Razorbacks lost a vital player and a leader from last year in Cappelen, leaving many wondering if Arkansas will be able to fill the void he left and maintain their success.
Last season, Cappelen led the team with some incredible statistics. In 2013, Cappelen was the second golfer in Razorback history to win the Southeastern Conference’s individual championship. He was selected to the PING All-American team for four straight years.
Cappelen significantly contributed to the team, helping them earn a ranking of 18th overall, according to Golfstat. The team started off this year ranked 18th.
Golf Magazineranked Cappelen 17th at the end of last season. This year, Golfweek ranked the ranked the team 19th, and they were ranked 21st in the Coaches Poll.
Like football, the SEC is a very competitive league for men’s golf. Last year, Alabama won its second straight championship, defeating Oklahoma State 4-1 in match play.
Georgia, Louisiana State University, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M are all ranked in front of the Razorbacks as the season gets underway. Eight SEC schools make up the top 25, according to Golfweek’s Aug. 26 rankings. Arkansas also plays the seventh toughest schedule in the country, according to Golfweek.
Judging by the results of The Carmel Cup, Crawford looks to be stepping up as the next leader to replace Cappelen.
Crawford carded 14 birdies during his three rounds at Pebble Beach, Calif., at the end of August. He also made birdie or par for eight straight holes at one point in the tournament.
Going into this opening tournament, Crawford had a 71.2 stroke average per round. Golf Magazine ranked Crawfordas the No. 3 golfer on the team and 196th overall.
Taylor Moore is another big name on the team. Moore played extraordinarily well in the 114th U.S. Open and was the top qualifier out of the Texarkana Country Club, walking away with his fair share of medalist honors in mid-August. Moore was the Razorback next in line to be ranked by Golf Magazine.
Cappelen was a talented golfer and a leader for the Hogs’ golf team, but a lot of talent remains on the team that could make up for his absence. However, after only one tournament, it is too early to tell which team member will fill Cappelen’s shoes.
Arkansas will head to the Fighting Illini Invitational this weekend for their second tournament of the season and face off against some of the nation’s top programs.