OREGON CITY, Ore.- Ryan Kukula of Willamette shot a 76 on Sunday to maintain his first-round lead and capture medalist honors at the Northwest Conference Fall Classic. Kukula's 1-under-par two-round total of 143 helped carry Willamette to the tournament title at Stone Creek Golf Club.
Led by Taylor Klopp (Sr., Eugene, Ore.) and Kevin Kawasaki (Sr., West Linn, Ore.), Linfield placed fifth at the nine-team event with a two-round score of 314-312-626, 39 strokes back the champion Bearcats. Pacific Lutheran was second at 304-292-596 while Puget Sound took third with even round scoring of 304-302-606. Whitworth was fourth at 302-306-608.
Trimming four strokes from his first-day score, Kawasaki shot 75 on Sunday and finished at 154 total, good for a share of 15th place. Klopp was one stroke better the second time around the course and tied for 12th at 153.
“I was able to hit the ball a lot better, particularly with my irons,” said Kawasaki. “I took along some extra clubs to give me a little more distance off the tee.”
Kawasaki shaved three strokes off his Saturday score on the No. 12 hole, scoring a birdie on Sunday.
Kyle Hargrave (Jr., Clackamas, Ore.), Taylor Pirnke (Sr., Mill Creek, Wash.) and Logan Munson (Sr., Wilsonville, Ore.) also competed for Linfield. Hargrave shot 76-82-158 to tie for 23rd, Pirnke tied for 29th with scores of 82-80-162, and Munson earned a portion of 32nd place at 83-81-164.
The tournament counts 25 percent toward determining the NWC's team champion and automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III tournament. Two other “major” tournaments await the Wildcats in the spring.
“We didn't play up to our potential,” said Kawasaki. “We have half the season left and can make up some ground. We know what we need to work on. Our goal is to keep grinding away and turn our individual weaknesses into strengths.”
The season resumes in March.