Brooke Matthews (L) and Luke Long won individual titles at The Blessings Intercollegiate
Things couldn't have gone much better for Arkansas' men's and women's golf teams this week, as both squads walked away with team titles at The Blessings Intercollegiate by a combined total of 32 strokes while Razorbacks Luke Long and Brooke Matthews claimed medalist honors on their home course.
The top-ranked Arkansas women's team finished 9-under 855 for the 54-hole event to claim the team title by 19 strokes over second-place UCLA, which posted a three-day total of 10-over 874.
Matthews, ranked first in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and listed as the 20th-ranked female amateur in the world, successfully defended her title at The Blessings and won her second event of the fall season with a 4-under total of 212 (72-66-74), good a four-stroke victory over teammate Cory Lopez and Alessia Nobolio of UCLA, who finished at even-par 216.
The senior from Rogers, Ark. led the Razorbacks to the team title at the Cougar Classic in September by carding an NCAA-record 25-under par score to run away with the individual title.
Razorbacks Kajal Mistry (t-4th; 217) and Miriam Ayora (t-9th; 218) also finished in the top-10.
The Razorbacks men's team, ranked eighth nationally, followed a similar script, winning the team title by 13 strokes while senior Luke Long completed a wire-to-wire victory to claim medalist honors. It was his first individual collegiate victory, but you would never know it from his cool demeanor in the post-round Golf Channel Interview.
"It's just like riding a bike," said Long of playing Blessings under competitive pressure. "I've played so many rounds up there it's all the same. I wasn't so much focused on closing out the individual championship as on helping my team out."
Arkansas posted a three-day total of 846 (-18) on rounds of 278-287-281 for a 13 stroke victory over Arizona, which finished at 5-under 859. Illinois, which started the day just one stroke out of the lead, faded into a tied for fourth after a 9-over final day score of 297.
Razorbacks finished 1-2 among individuals. Long's 11-under score of 205 (67-67-71) was good for a three-stroke victory over teammate Mateo Fernandez De Oliveira and Chase Sienkiewicz of Arizona. De Oliveira finished with a 4-under 68 to move seven spots up the leaderboard while the low round of the day belonged to North Carolina's Ryan Gerard, who shot a 7-under 65.
Second Round Recap; Oct. 6
The Arkansas Razorbacks aren't being the most gracious hosts at The Blessings Intercollegiate being held in Fayetteville, Ark.
At the 36-hole mark of the tournament being played on their home course, the Razorback's men's and women's teams find themselves in first place on their home course in Fayetteville, with the men nursing a one-stroke lead over Illinois while the women have opened an 11-shot lead over its closest pursuer, UCLA.
In addition, a pair of Razorbacks -- Luke Long and Brooke Matthews -- find themselves atop the individual leaderboard.
After shooting a 10-under 278 to open the tournament, the Razorback men followed with a 1-under 287 on Tuesday and at 11-under 565, hold a one-stroke lead over Illinois heading into Wednesday's final round.
Long shot his second consecutive round of 67 to maintain a stronghold on first place on the individual leaderboard at 10-under 134. Long enjoys a three-shot lead over Arizona's Chase Sienkiewicz heading into the final 18 holes on Wednesday.
The second-best round of the day for the Razorbacks came from freshman John Daly II. Playing as an individual, Daly bounced back from an opening round of 83 to card a 4-under-par 68 on Tuesday, climbing 10 spots into a tie for 42nd place.
The top-ranked Razorback women's team put together one of its best rounds in program history on Tuesday afternoon at the Blessings Collegiate, firing a 274 (-14) as a team to surge to the top of the leaderboard at the 36-hole mark of the tournament. At 14-under, the Razorbacks will take a commanding 11-stroke lead over UCLA heading into Tuesday's final round.
Matthews' second round 66 on Tuesday matched her own course record at The Blessings and at 6-under par 138, she'll take a three-shot lead over Alessia Nobilio of UCLA into Wednesday's final round.
Arkansas sophomores Cory Lopez and Miriam Ayora, along with Houston's Annie Kim, are within striking distance at 2-under 142.
First Round Recap; Oct. 4
Behind a first-round 67 by senior Luke Long, the host Arkansas Razorbacks opened a seven-shot lead in the men's field while UCLA enjoys a six-shot lead on the women's side after the first round of play at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational being held in Fayetteville, Ark.
Long's 67 helped the Razorbacks to a 10-under 278 on the day, good for a seven-shot lead over SEC rival Ole Miss heading into Tuesday's second round. At 5-under, Long enjoys a two-shot lead over six golfers at 3-under, including teammates Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira and Segundo Oliva Pinto.
Alessia Nobilio leads the women's field after firing a 3-under 69 on Monday while teammates Emma Spitz, Ty Akabane, and Zoe Antoinette Campos also find themselves in the top-10 after the first round of play.
Host Razorbacks feeling right at home
Arkansas looked very much like a team enjoying a stroll on its home course on Monday, carding a 10-under round of 278 on the par-72, 7,700-yard Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville. Ole Miss shot a 385 (-3) and is second in the 10-team field, followed by Illinois (286), Tennessee (288), and Texas Tech (289).
Long birdied three straight holes on his back nine to en route to an opening-round 67 (-5) for a two-stroke cushion over six golfers who are tied at 2-under. Arkansas also counted a pair of 69s by Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira and Segundo Oliva Pinto and a 1-over 73 by Julian Perico for a strong first round of 278.
Ole Miss ended the day strong with four out of its five golfers making birdies on the final hole, catapulting the Rebels from sixth to second on the team leaderboard.
Freshman Nobilio paces Bruins
Playing in just her second intercollegiate tournament, Alessia Nobilio, a redshirt freshman from Rozzano, Italy, made three birdies on her inward nine to card a 3-under 69 on Monday, good for a two-stroke lead over Louisville's Hana Ryskova heading into the second round.
UCLA teammate Emma Spitz and Brooke Matthews of Arkansas are three back at even par.
The Bruins shot a 1-over team score of 289 and hold a six-stroke lead over Arkansas heading into the second round of play.
Live coverage on the GOLF Channel
All three rounds of the men's and women's events will be televised on Golf Channel as part of the network's expanding coverage of collegiate golf. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. ET.