Jim’s Notebook: Cappelen’s Short Summer Swing Ends On Upbeat at US Amateur

Arkansas Razorback golfer Sebastian Cappelen reached the round of 32 in the US Amateur this week in Brookline, Mass., before falling Thursday to Canadian Charlie Hughes. Cappelen was the only Razorback to reach the 64-man match-play bracket of U.S. Amateur, this on the heels of a strong showing at The Alotian Club in the Western Amateur, where he made the semifinals of match play.

The only other competition for the senior-to-be from Odensk, Denmark, following the completion of the Razorbacks’ season in the NCAA Championships in Atlanta was as a member of the European side in the Palmer Cup.

Overall, one would have to grade Cappelen’s summer as strong, and he’ll lead a returning group of Hogs who all performed well in the Western Amateur.

Sophomore Taylor Moore was a match-play qualifier in the Western Amateur after shooting 9-under during the 72-hole stroke play portion at The Alotian Club. Little Rock Central product Joe Doramus, a redshirt senior, and junior Nicolas Ecchavarria made the Western’s first cut to the top 44 players and ties after two rounds.

The qualifying rounds for the U.S. Amateur were staged at both The Country Club — the historic course where amateur Francis Ouimet caddied and later won the 1913 U.S. Open in a playoff over British pros Harry Vardon and Ted Ray — and the Charles River Country Club. Cappelen shot a 73 at The Country Club before battling back with a 67 at Charles River to finish in 17th place among the qualifiers. The top 64 advanced to match play.

Alabama, the 2013 national collegiate champion with a loaded lineup, suffered at the Western Amateur (only incoming frosh Robbie Shelton made the match play), and the U.S. Amateur wasn’t kind to the Tide either, where only Bobby Wyatt moved on to the round of 64. Wyatt, last year’s Southern Amateur runner-up at Chenal Country Club, was sent home in the round of 32 on Thursday.

FLIP-FLOPS: The U.S. Amateur featured a couple of match-play pairings that were also key matchups two weeks ago in the Western Amateur.

University of North Florida grad Sean Dale jumped on Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers early at The Alotian Clup and upset the Western Am medalist (at 18-under par) in the first round of match play, but Rodgers turned the tables on Dale this week at The Country Club, putting Dale away 3 and 2 in the Round of 64.

On his way to winning the Western Am at Alotian, Jordan Niebrugge of Oklahoma State handled Georgia Tech’s Seth Reeves. But in the Round of 32 at Brookline this week, Reeves got his measure of revenge by ousting Niebrugge 3 and 2.

Neither Rodgers or Reeves could get to the quarterfinal round at the U.S. Amateur, however. But they’ll no doubt be factors in the coming college season.

DUKE LOOKING GOOD: Henderson State alum Ken Duke is sitting is good position as the PGA Tour moves into its season-ending FedEx Cup schedule. Duke, helped by his first Tour win of his career, at the Travelers Championship in late June, is in 30th place this week, a drop of five points after last week’s PGA Championship, where he finished in a 57th place tie.

Duke hasn’t come close to duplicating his Travelers playoff win, but he’s made his last four cuts and five of his last six. Going into the Travelers, he had missed 10 cuts in 18 events.

Buoyed by the nearly $1.1 million he claimed in winning the Travelers in a playoff, he has total winnings of $1.7 million, though that’s still nearly a half-million shy from his career-best season of 2008.

With a good spot secured for FedEx Cup play, Duke skipped this week’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C.

Conway product Bryce Molder didn’t sit out the weekend, though, and through Friday morning Molder was contending at 6-under-par, three shots behind second-round leader Jordan Spieth.

Molder likely will be safe to play in the first FedEx Cup event, The Barclays in New Jersey next week, as he stood in 101st place going into the Wyndham. A big weekend would help toward extended play. Each week the fields are shaved down (25 after week 1, 30 after week 2) based on the FedEx points to where only the top 30 remain for the Tour Championship.

Molder has earned $622,608 on Tour this season. He’s made 13 of 20 cuts, and last month finished in 17th place at The Greenbrier Classic. His top finish in 2013 was a tie for 12th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

Former Razorback golfer David Lingmerth, like Ken Duke, sits in an enviable position at 43rd in the FedEx points standings. If he was able to maintain that spot he’d at least make it three three rounds of the playoffs. Lingmerth has had a solid first year on the PGA Tour ($1.748 million earned), but his chances to improve his standing in the points didn’t look good Friday as he was well below the projected cut line at the Wyndham. Lingmerth has three top 10s this year, including a second place in The Players Championship.

Another former Hog, Tag Ridings, needs a big weekend or will get the next month off. Ridings is sitting in the 135th spot going into the Wyndham, and like Lingmerth, Ridings was dangerously close to missing the cut during Friday’s round.

And another related side note to Arkansas golf: The BMW Championship, the third leg in the four-tournament FedEx Cup schedule, is operated by the Western Golf Asociation, the same folks who were here at The Alotian Club running the Western Amateur two weeks ago.

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