Clean Sweep: Razorbacks collect gear on the home course
By: Ethan Westerman
Publication: Thursday, October 7, 2021
JOHNSON – Mateo Fernandez De Oliveira took a deep breath, lined up his club and threw the ball 225 yards onto the 13th hole of the Blessings Golf Club.
All it took was one shot for the junior from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“I am still shocked,” said Fernandez De Oliveira. “I did a really good shot and then I heard all the people there screaming and clapping. I was just immediately in shock.
“I will always remember that moment.”
It was the first hole-in-one of his career, putting the icing on the cake of a dominating Arkansas Razorbacks tournament.
The feat captured how the event played out for both the University of Arkansas men’s and women’s golf teams, completing the 2021 Blessings Collegiate Invitational Championships.
Brooke Matthews (Rogers) defended her crown from a year ago, going 4 under 212 during the tournament in a three-round hit game. Despite three bogeys in the final round, Matthews kept enough composure to protect the BCI title.
“I didn’t have quite my best game today, but I was able to play smart and finish it,” she said. “I was lucky to have such a good team with me and to play well. They pulled me up straight away when I went down several times. We have a good team and we are just ready to build on our momentum for the rest of the season.
After following UCLA six strokes after the first 18 holes, the Razorbacks edged the Bruins by 25 strokes in the final two rounds to win in a dominant fashion.
Junior Julia Gregg led the Razorbacks on Wednesday with a 68 under 4. The Razorbacks finished the event with an 855 under 9.
“It’s really special,” said Arkansas women’s coach Shauna Taylor. “It just reminds me that there are so many different ways to win. Today was a bit more difficult for Brooke who was struggling a bit, but seeing the other girls step up at that point just got me. made really proud.
“To win at home in front of our fans and our families is great. Kudos to our team’s hard work and time spent on and off the golf course.
On the men’s side, Luke Long (Fayetteville) secured the individual medal with a 205 under 11 on the 54 holes. The championship was not without drama.
After Fernandez De Oliveira’s ace, it looked like he could surpass Long for the title.
“There was absolutely friendly competition there,” Long said with a smile on his face. “I wasn’t really sure when I stood with Mateo on the board, but I knew he had some really good laps going on.”
Long finally got the win by responding with an eagle on the 15th par 5, which he and Fernandez De Oliveira celebrated.
“I was so excited for him to do that ace, but he was just as excited for me to do the eagle on the 15th. He was the first to come up and slap me and congratulate me.”
The duo finished first and second, separated by three strokes.
As a team, Arkansas fled the field. Segundo Oliva Pinto shot 2 under 70 and Wil Gibson went to a tie to help the team reach a total of 7 under 281 in the final round.
The Hogs completed the 13 invitational shots ahead of second-placed Arizona, posting an 846 under-18.
“It was just a great week for us,” Arkansas men’s coach Brad McMakin said. “I’m super proud of our guys, and really for Luke to get this moment.
“Winning a tournament with this caliber of teams is huge. We got a little behind the 8 ball today but the guys stepped up and really played some great golf. It was a phenomenal event, and I’m just happy for our team.