The Linfield men and women’s golf teams finished in the top four in the Northwest Conference Championships at Heron Lakes on April 24-25. The men finished in third place, while the women finished fourth, each among a nine-team field.
Whitworth University won the men’s conference championship with a two-round score of 618 and captured the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division III tournament. The University of Puget Sound placed second, set two strokes behind at 620. Linfield and Pacific University shared third place at 622. The Wildcats shot 312 on the second day, compared to Pacific’s 299.
Senior Tyler Nelson shot a 77-75—152 to lead the Wildcats, putting him in a three-way tie for second place. Junior Yutaro Sakamoto finished in eighth place at 77-70—156.
The men began slowly but put together a strong rally on the second day, as the scores of Nelson, Sakamoto and Rychard showed.
In the women’s conference championship, Whitworth captured first place with a total of 654, claiming the conference’s automatic NCAA Division III tournament in the process. George Fox was second with 657 and Puget Sound was third at 673. Linfield shot 684 over 36 holes to clinch fourth place.
With a score of 80 April 25, junior Brynn Hurdus shaved five strokes off her first-round score of 85 to finish with a 165. Sophomore Sophie Corr shot 89-83—172 to share 18th place. Senior Brittany Johnston and junior Katie Kilborn shared 23rd place. Johnston shot 85-90—175.
After having a strong first-day performance, the women faltered as a team on day two.
“We managed to have all our scores that counted toward our team total in the 80s, which put us in a strong position,” junior Brinn Hovde said. “Going into the second day, we all set high expectations for ourselves, which I think allowed us to become frustrated easily.”
This season was full of successes that left Hovde pleased, she said.
“Looking back on the spring, I feel like we had a successful season overall,” Hovde said. “We worked hard, did lots of good things and had some strong finishes, which will continue to give us that drive to do better and grow as a team.”
Next season holds plenty of promise and potential for the women’s golf team, Johnston said.
“I hope that Brinn, Sophie and Katie will continue to shoot in the low 80s, like they are capable of,” she said. “I think that will give our team great potential to win some tournaments and be a strong competitor.”
Sports reporterJustin Derby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org