SALEM, Ore. – Seeing its team score balloon over the final two rounds, the Linfield men’s golf team slid from fourth place to seventh at the eight-team Corban Invitational, which wrapped up a two-day run Tuesday afternoon at Creekside Golf Club.
“It wasn’t pretty, but this was an opportunity for our young guys to gain some valuable varsity experience,” said Wildcats coach Greg Copeland, who inserted three up-and-comers into the Linfield lineup.
Whether it was the unfamiliar course, changing weather conditions or just inexperience, Linfield's scores were up and down throughout the three-round event.
Wildcats Adrian Koza, Kyle Hargrave (Jr., Clackamas, Ore.) and Thomas Arand competed in their first varsity match of the spring season.
“Those three gave us some good stretches but overall were kind of inconsistent,” said the coach. “Golf is a continual learning experience and this event was a good opportunity to get some different people a chance to play.”
Only one of Linfield’s five competitors improved his score from the first round to the third. Ryan Nolan shot 77 for the lowest round of the day for the ‘Cats.
Nolan's score line read 80-81-77-238, good for share of 18th place. Nolan enjoyed the best shot of the day in the third round. Using a 4-iron on the No. 9 hole, the sophomore planted a 200-yard drive within one foot of the cup, then sank his putt for birdie.
“Ryan was hitting the ball really solid,” but spotty play on the greens kept him from an even better score, said Copeland. A pair of three-putts in the early rounds cost him a couple of bogeys and landing the ball into sand traps on the final two holes of the third round resulted in two more bogeys.
Normally steady Taylor Klopp (Sr., Eugene, Ore.) shot five strokes better than Nolan for the tournament, though his scores grew progressively larger from Monday’s first-round showing. Klopp scored 75-78-80-233 to take 14th place.
“Taylor was hitting quality shots but just now rewarding himself (by sinking putts),” said Copeland.
“Going forward, Adrian and Kyle will be in the mix fighting for spots on the squad that will represent us at the conference tournament,” noted Copeland. “They need to develop better course management and avoid mistakes. Those things are usually fixable.”
With four of its golfers among the top-seven finishers, Concordia-Portland carded three sub-300 rounds to take first place at the Corban Invitational. The Cavaliers won the event with ease, topping runner-up North Idaho by 29 strokes.
Jess Wingett of Concordia-Portland was crowned medalist, carding 217 to win the event by five strokes.
NEXT: Linfield heads to southern California to compete in the West Cup tournament hosted by Cal Lutheran. Action is set for Monday and Tuesday at Goose Creek GC in Mira Loma.