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Arkansas clinches 2019 men's golf SEC title

1685 days ago
SEC Staff
Photo: Georgia Athletics

2019 SEC Men's Golf Championship

Arkansas Razorbacks - 2019 SEC Team Champion

Jovan Rebula (Auburn) - 2019 SEC Individual Champion

Seaside Course - Sea Island Golf Club - St. Simons Island, GA  April 24-28, 2019

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. --- Freshman Julian Perico knocked in a close par putt on No. 18 to lift Arkansas to a 3-1-1 victory over Auburn to win the Southeastern Conference Men's Golf Championship on Sunday at Sea Island Golf Club.

The No. 7-seeded Razorbacks claimed the program's second SEC title and first since 1995.

Perico and Auburn's Graysen Huff were all square heading into the final hole. Huff found a fairway bunker and then hit to within about 100 yards as Perico dropped a shot from the fairway to within 25 feet. Huff's approach was well below the hole and after he came up short on his par, Perico safely lagged his putt to within two feet. Following a deep and animated exhale, Perico set off a celebration on Seaside No. 18 with a heart-of-the-cup putt.

"We hung in there all day long," said head coach Brad McMakin. "William (Buhl) went out and won that first point, which I think is so key in match play. After Auburn tied it, Luis Garza and Julian were down one or two through 13 holes but they continued to fight and make a couple of putts. ... These guys will always be champions together. This is a very close group, maybe the closest I've coached. They really came together over the last two months."

"We work so hard and we're a tight-knit group," Perico said. "We do everything together. There are times when we struggle because this is the toughest sport there is mentally. To get it done here with my guys against the No. 1 seed is just awesome."

Arkansas' first point came as Buhl topped Jacob Solomon 3&2. Buhl went up three after four holes and never relinquished his lead.

Brandon Mancheno squared the match for top-seeded Auburn as he topped Mason Overstreet 6&5. The match was all square through six, then Mancheno won six of the next seven to seize control of the match.

Tyson Reeder put the Razorbacks back on top with a 2-up win over Trace Crowe. Reeder had built a four-hole edge after seven, then Crowe got it down to 1-up after 13 but never was able to draw even.

Auburn's Jovan Rebula, the SEC medalist, and Arkansas' Luis Garza were playing their 19th hole all square when Perico made his winning putt. Garza came running up the 18 fairway to join in the celebration.

"We had a great week," Auburn head coach Nick Clinard said. "We won stroke play in convincing fashion to prove that we were the best team in the conference and then went and made it to the finals in match play. We'll hold our heads high and get ready for the next one."

Teams will learn their NCAA Regional assignments on Wednesday at 9 p.m. during the selection show on The Golf Channel. The Regionals will take place May 13-15 in Athens, Ga.; Ames, Iowa; Simpsonville, Ky., Murrells Inlet, S.C.; Stanford, Calif.; and Pullman, Wash. The top five squads from each regional will make up the 30-team field at the NCAA Championship May 24-29 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.