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Arkansas' Cappelen looks to cap record-setting career with win at NCAA championships

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Sebastian Cappelen has a good idea of where golf will take him when he leaves Arkansas.

Before he begins that professional career, however, the three-time All-American hopes to add a win in the NCAA championships at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kansas.

The senior's accolades in his four years at Arkansas are seemingly endless, including an individual win last year in the Southeastern Conference championships. He also is the school's career leader in scoring, averaging 71.9 per round after posting his 19th career top-10 finish last week in the Columbia Regional. The Dane is ranked 19th by both Golfstat and Golfweek.

"He's had the best career of anybody as a Razorback," coach Brad McMakin said. "Just a great advocate for our program."

McMakin happened upon Cappelen while in Europe watching former Arkansas player — and current PGA Tour member — David Lingmerth.

Cappelen, then in high school in Denmark and strongly considering turning professional, had never heard of Arkansas. A recruiting visit opened his eyes to the possibilities of college golf. And the 24-year-old Cappelen has already graduated with a degree in business economics.

"There's so much more to it than I had ever imagined," Cappelen said. "I thought I was just coming to play golf and have fun. It's actually taken me somewhere, which is interesting. ... Hopefully where I dreamt to be."

What Cappelen dreamed of was a spot on the PGA Tour, a pursuit he'll begin in earnest after this weekend.

The three-time Palmer Cup member has been ranked as high as fourth in the world amateur golf rankings, and he's already started making plans for his professional career. That includes keeping his apartment in Fayetteville for at least a year, "trying to not make everything new right off the bat."

Cappelen plans to play in some professional events later this year.

First, however, he's focused on this weekend at links-style Prairie Dunes.

Arkansas, ranked as high as No. 12, finished second in last week's regional — with Cappelen tying for sixth at 7-under 209.

The finish came despite a host of struggles with putting on the greens at The Club at Old Hawthorn, something he hopes to correct this week.

Last week's putting woes aside, Cappelen has "no doubt" he can add to his trophy collection with a win against the top college golfers in the country.

Likewise, McMakin has no doubt in Cappelen — either this week or when assessing his professional prospects.

"I think he's a can't miss," McMakin said. "He's so consistent every week, and that's what the tour's all about. He's just got so much talent. Unless an injury comes, we're going to see him on TV pretty shortly."

The NCAA tournament began Friday with teams playing 54 holes of stroke play to qualify for the eight-team championship playoff, which will be conducted in a match-play format. Those eight will be whittled down Tuesday to two for the title match Wednesday. The individual title will be decided Monday after 72 holes of stroke play.

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