SALEM, S.C. (arkansasrazorbacks.com) – Arkansas not only shot its best round in an NCAA Regional, but the Razorbacks also set program overall records for low round (266) and best score in relation to par (-22) to lead by six strokes after 18 holes at the 2023 NCAA Salem Regional, hosted by Clemson and played at the par-72 Cliffs at Keowee Falls.
The previous school records were 267 (done twice, once on a par-70 course and once on a par-72 course). The previous record for score in relation to par was -19, done on March 27, 2021, at the Old Waverly Collegiate on a par-72 course.
In addition to team records, Segundo Oliva Pinto and Wil Gibson each carded a first-round, 7-under-par 65 and are tied for third. The 7-under sets a program record for best score in relation to par at an NCAA Regional by two and their 65 ties for the lowest round by a Razorback at an NCAA Regional. (Tyson Reeder posted at 5-under-par 65 in the final round of the 2021 NCAA Kingston Springs Regional. Several others had shot 5-under as well). Gibson’s 65 is a career-low and Oliva Pinto shot 65 for the fourth time in his career – first at Arkansas.
Also, redshirt-sophomore Manuel Lozada fired a first-round, 5-under-par 67 to stand in a tie for eighth. The 67 ties for the sixth-best round by a Razorback at an NCAA Regional behind three 65’s (including two today) and a pair of 66’s.
Arkansas got its fourth round in the 60’s as Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira shot a 3-under-par 69 and is tied for 21st. It marked just the second time four Razorbacks shot in the 60’s in the same round of a Regional as the 2014 squad accomplished the feat in the second round at the NCAA Columbia (Mo.) Regional with rounds of 67-67-67-69 for a score of 270.
“It goes without saying, I am really proud of the team today,” head coach Brad McMakin. “To set school records is amazing but doing so in the postseason is phenomenal. We got off to a great start and never let up. The 65’s from Segundo and Wil were really impressive but having four rounds in the 60’s put us in a great position to start this championship.”
In the team standings, the Razorbacks (seeded sixth at the Regional and ranked 35th nationally) shot 266 to out-pace 8th seed and #48 New Mexico (272) by six strokes and top-seeded, 2nd-ranked North Carolina (273) by seven. Rounding out the top five were Northern Illinois (275) and #11 Georgia Tech (278).
Lozada, playing in the fifth position, was first off for the Razorback and he set to tone early with three consecutive birdies. After a bogey on his fourth hole (the par-3 13th), he closed his opening nine with birdies on holes 14, 16 and 18 to make the turn at -5. He off-et a bogey with a birdie on his inward nine to shoot his 67.
Gibson and Oliva Pinto, playing in the fourth and third spors, respectively, each used eagles on their opening nine holes en route to their 65. Gibson ran off six straight pars to open his round then had a birdie on his seven hole (the par-5, 16th) and had an eagle on the 18th hole. He was the lone Razorback to play a bogey-free round as he turned in birdies on holes 1, 3, 8 and 9 to close his round for his career-best 65.
Oliva Pinto was even through four holes with a birdie on 10 and bogey on 13 to start his round. The fifth-year senior then went birdie, birdie, eagle, par, birdie to close his front nine at -5. On his back nine, he had seven pars and two birdies to shoot 65.
The second of three rounds is set for Tuesday.
2023 NCAA Salem Regional
The Cliffs at Keowee Falls || Salem, S.C.
7,126 yards || Par 72
1 #35 Arkansas 266 / -22
2 #47 New Mexico 272 / -16
3 #2 North Carolina 273 / -15
4 Northern Illinois 275 / -13
5 #11 Georgia Tech 278 / -10
6 #26 Georgia Southern 279 / -9
7 #14 Texas A&M 281 / -7
8 Clemson 282 / -6
T9 Furman 283 / -5
T9 #38 Purdue 283 / -5
T9 Middle Tennessee 283 / -5
T12 #23 San Diego State 284 / -4
T12 Longwood 284 / -4
14 Long Island 308 / +20