ROLAND – Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira fired a 2-under-par 70 for the third straight round and was tied for the lead after 54 holes. The junior reeled off three pars in a playoff Tuesday afternoon to seal his first career collegiate win. His play helped Arkansas finish runner-up through stroke play at the inaugural Jackson T. Stephens Cup, played at Alotian Golf Club (par 72, 7,400-yards).
Arkansas will face stroke play winner Notre Dame Wednesday in match play to determine the Stephens Cup team champion. The Fighting Irish carded an 8-under-par 856 and the Razorbacks improved two spots to finish second with a total of 876. Florida State and Arizona tied for third (880) followed by Alabama (885) and San Diego State (890).
Fernandez de Oliveira entered the day tied for second and was even at the turn with two bogeys and two birdies. He started the back nine with three pars before back-to-back birdies on his 13th and 14th holes – the par-3 5th and par-4 5th. The junior had two chances to close out the title in regulation but settled for par.
In the meantime, a pair of Notre Dame players were tied for the lead with three holes to play. Palmer Jackson birdied the par-4 15th to get to 6-under along with Fernandez de Oliveira. Taichi Kho, the leader through round two and most of round three, suffered back-to-back bogeys on holes 15 and 16 to fall one stroke behind Palmer and Fernandez de Oliveira. Palmer finished with three pars to force the two-man playoff.
Fernandez de Oliveira and Palmer started the playoff on #10. Both had long birdie putts and snuggled them close for tap-in pars. The pair went back to the 10th tee. Once again, the pair settled for pars. The playoff went to the 16th hole, a 236-yard par 3. Both players hit in bunkers, Fernandez de Oliveira on the left and Palmer on the right. While Palmer was a little closer, Fernandez de Oliveira had the better angle. In turn, Fernandez de Oliveira sank his 10-foot putt while Palmer missed his.
In three stroke play events this fall, Fernandez de Oliveira has finished:
- 3rd at the season-opening Carmel Cup.
- 2nd at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational.
- 1st at the Jackson T. Stephens Cup.
Juan Camilo Vesga carded a birdie on his final hole to earn his first career top 10, finishing tied for eighth (75-72-74=221). Luke Long was 2-over after three holes to start the day but birdied four of his last six holes on the front nine en route to a final-run 72. He moved up two spots to tie for 15th (74-76-72=222).
Segundo Oliva Pinto tied for 20th thanks to a final-round 73, shooting 223 for the event. Wil Gibson finished 25th (75-79-74=228).