Official Razorback sports teams aren’t the only ones that compete for the university, as one club team that has found great success this season. The Arkansas club golf team traveled with eight of its best players to St. Louis on April 28-29 to compete in the Spring 2018 NCCGA National Championship.
A qualifying tournament determined which members of the team were allowed to compete in the national tournament. The players who made the cut formed the team that would compete
The team now boasts a two-semester streak of competing in the tournament after playing in it this semester.
This time around, the eight expect to yield better results because they had a good seeding going into the tournament.
“Right now, we are ranked pretty high in the nation,” Nutt said. “We play in the toughest division, as well. We play on courses that are a little tougher than the rest of them.”
Going into the weekend, Arkansas was ranked No. 17 of 100.
After the first round, Arkansas sat in ninth place with a score of 392. All eight players shot below 100.
During the second and final round of play, the team finished at 394, and each player shot below 100 again. This made Arkansas’ final score 392-394–786, placing the Hogs at No. 7.
Junior Austin Rhodes had one of the best performances in the tournament. He ended with 156 strokes and scored fewer than 100 in each round. Despite his success, Rhodes thinks the tournament could have gone better for him, he said.
“I was just frustrated with my performance on and around the greens,” Rhodes said. “If I putted better, I feel like I could have been in contention to win the national championship.”
The team began in 2014 and has been accumulating members ever since. One of these members was now-club president Chandler Nutt. He began as a player and now has led the team for two years. Nutt developed a passion for golf after his senior year of high school, so when his friend offered him the opportunity to become the president of the Arkansas club golf team, he fell right into it despite the difficult work involved, he said.
Nutt puts the lineups together and heads the qualifying tournament in addition to holding fundraisers to benefit the team.
Nutt thinks this is a great comeback from last semester’s performance in which the team finished close to last, he said.
“We didn’t do so well,” senior Nick Jusko said. “There was kind of a tornado that came through on the second day, so we had some wind. The cancelled the tournament early.”
Nutt is happy with the much improved outcome this semester, he said.
“Given the fact we got like 27th last semester, I think seventh is a good bump up for us,” Nutt said. “We had some pretty decent scores, but the courses were a little tougher and the competition was so good.”
Before the tournament began, Nutt predicted the team’s toughest competition would be Arizona State University, Georgia and the University of Texas. His prediction was close to perfect, with Georgia finishing second and Texas in fourth. Grand Canyon University took the title.
Even with the eight shooting a good game, they finished only one stroke behind Missouri. Though the Hogs finished lower than they wanted, the team has no regrets.
“It sucks,” Nutt said. “There are so many shots you wish you could have back, but that’s just how golf is, and there’s nothing you can really do about it.”
The team is already preparing for next semester’s tournament and planning how to improve.
“We look forward to next year and hopefully getting a little better and a little more consistent as a team, and I think that will help us a lot going forward,” Nutt said.