FIRCREST, Wash. – What a difference a day made for the Linfield Wildcats at the Puget Sound Invitational.
Battling heavy rain throughout Saturday's opening round, the Wildcats turned in a bloated score of 319, dropping them back to sixth among eight teams.
Sunday was a different story. With the storm since passed, sunny skies prevailed and nearly every golfer in the tournament saw improved results.
Led by two solid rounds from Taylor Klopp (Sr., Eugene, Ore.), Linfield bounced back Sunday with a team score of 305 and a two-round total of 623 to earn fifth place. Host Puget Sound won the tournament with an even 600. Whitworth was second at 605, followed by Pacific Lutheran (608) and Willamette (615). Trailing the fifth-place Wildcats was Whitman (630), Lewis & Clark (638), and George Fox (701).
Klopp shot 75 on Saturday and followed up with a 74 on Sunday, finishing at 149 and in a four-way tie for third place with Willamette's Ryan Kukula and Whitman's Scott Martin, and first-day leader Derek Wilson of Puget Sound.
Jesse Salzwedel of Whitworth was crowned medalist, scoring 77-69-146 to win the event by two strokes. PLU's Justin Lee was runner-up at 74-74-148.
Earning a share of 11th place for Linfield was
(Sr., Mill Creek, Wash.), who shot 79-73-152.
(Sr., Wilsonville, Ore.) totaled 82-77-159 to tie for 27th place,
(Sr., West Linn, Ore.) scored 83-80-163 to place 31st, and
(So., Canby, Ore.) shot 85-87-172 to place 37th.
“My driving and putting worked well today,” said Pirnke. “I was able to attack most of the holes, which enabled me to have five birdies on the day. The weather was great (Sunday). But as a team, we struggled to accumulate a lot of pars. Many of the long par-4 holes were difficult to get good scores on.”
Linfield's A.J. Taylor competed as an individual, sharing 18th place with a two-day total of 77-79-156.
NEXT: In less than two weeks, Linfield steps outside the Northwest to California for its annual spring break competition. The Wildcats are scheduled to play in the West Cup Invitational at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta.