Adverse weather conditions caused delays and put up challenges for Linfield’s women’s golf team March 28 at the Northwest Conference Spring Classic at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks, Ore.
But the ‘Cats were unaffected, they tied with Pacific University for first place overall.
The women’s team, which competed on March 27 and 28, braved horizontal snow, hail and golf ball-deep puddles of mud to head out to the greens.
The ‘Cats were led by freshman Brynn Hurdus, who shaved 11 strokes off her first day finish to end with 167 total strokes, earning the second place individual finish in the tourney.
Mental preparation and perseverance are characteristics of strong players when competing in poor weather, Hurdus said.
At one point, she said her ball was sunk almost completely in mud.
Hurdus came up only seven strokes short of Willamette University’s Whitney Ueno, who took first place.
The men’s team took third place at the nine-team tournament.
Play on the first day of competition, which was delayed a half hour because of an intense hail storm, left the men in second, trailing nine strokes behind Pacific.
“We tried to play more aggressively (the second day) to beat Pacific and get a bigger lead going into conference,” junior Andrew Fitch said. “But when you play aggressively, you make more mistakes.”
Sophomore Tyler Nelson led the team with only 150 total strokes, coming in fourth overall.
Consistent play helps Nelson finish in the top ranks, he said.
“I learn to persevere when playing poorly and capitalize when I’m playing well,” Nelson said. “I’m trying to lead the team through my play.”
Pacific’s Max Bonk finished each day under par, placing first overall and leading the Boxers to the tournament win.
Whitworth University finished second, its score of 614 only four strokes better than the ‘Cats’ final tally.
Linfield’s next-best finisher was junior Kevin Duerr, who ended with 150 strokes, cutting down his first-day tally from 80 to 74, a score only two above par on the course.
Both teams also had equal success in tournaments before Spring Break.
The men headed to California on March 17 and 18 and finished fifth in the 14-team California Lutheran University Invitational.
The two-day tournament ended with Nelson and Fitch, and senior Kyle Henderson finishing up in and seventh, a tie for 11th and 18th place, respectively.
The previous day, five members of the men’s junior varsity golf team took eighth place at the Willamette Invitational at Creekside Golf Club in Salem.
Junior Burt Bonk and senior Nick Pagenkopf both led off the team with 166 strokes each.
The women’s team finished third behind Pacific and the University of Puget Sound on March 16 at the Willamette Invitational held at Tukwila Golf Course in Woodburn, Ore.
The results, in more ways than one, foreshadowed the outcome of last weekend’s NWC Spring Classic.
Hurdus finished second overall in the prebreak tourney with a final tally of 163. She was beat only by Ueno, who took first with 160 strokes, a score she duplicated to squeeze Hurdus out of the top spot at the Spring Classic.
“She’s definitely tough competition,” Hurdus said. “I’m trying to beat my own scores, but hers as well.”