High-score rounds at the Northwest Conference Spring Classic proved costly for the men’s and women’s golf teams April 10-11.
However, an eight-stroke improvement by the men and a consistent second round for the women allowed the ’Cats to claim second and third place, respectively.
The men opened up the tournament in Moses Lake, Wash., in a rough way, as the Wildcats’ 305 total score put them in third place and 12 strokes behind Whitworth University.
Senior Tyler Nelson emerged as the tournament frontrunner after carding a Linfield season-best 68 in the first round.
Linfield heated up on the second day, shaving eight strokes off its first-round score that launched the ’Cats to second place.
Although Nelson’s score ballooned to 76 on the final day, several Wildcats lowered their opening-round posts to lead the Linfield push.
Senior Joel Rychard fired a minus-1 71 in the second round, knocking nine strokes off his first-day score.
Sophomore Alex Fitch cut his first-round total by eight shots, posting a 73 on the final day.
Pacific University junior Max Bonk and Whitworth junior Cameron Whittle finished in a tie for first with total scores of 143. Whittle recorded a spring-low 69 in the first round that propelled him to an early second-spot placement.
Junior Brynn Hurdus earned third-place honors in Yakima, Wash., leading the women’s team to a third-place finish.
The Wildcats sat in fourth place after the first day of action with a 343, paced by sophomore Sophie Corr, who fired a first-round second-best 80. The second day, however, was rocky for Corr, as she recorded a 94 that sank her to 15th place.
Linfield remained consistent on the final day with a 345 overall score, as the University of Puget Sound fell out of the top three following a 357 second round – 20 strokes higher than the first-day total.
Hurdus and senior Brittany Johnston carried the Wildcats to a third-place finish, carding scores of 80 and 81, respectively. Johnston improved her first-round score by seven strokes and finished in sixth place.
George Fox University claimed the top spot not only in the team event, but also individually. Bruin junior Brianna Nap tallied a plus-17 161, edging out Whitworth freshman Emily Travis by one shot.
The Linfield men’s team seeks its third-straight conference title at the NWC Championships in Portland on April 24, while the women aim for their first NWC championship since 2003 in Portland on the same date.
Sports editorGrant Lucas can be reached at email@example.com