WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Improving its team score by two strokes from the first round to the second, the Linfield men’s golf team ended in fifth place at the Whitman Invitational, held Sunday and Monday at picturesque Wine Country Golf Club.
The Wildcats shot a collective score of 592 over 36 holes, just two strokes short of third place. Whitworth won the team trophy with an even-par 576. Puget Sound was second at 586, while Pacific Lutheran and Whitman shared third place, both at 591.
Linfield’s Taylor Klopp (Jr., Eugene, Ore.) shrugged off a lackluster first-round score of 76 to card 70 on Monday. His total of 146 earned the Wildcat sophomore a portion of 10th place. A.J. Taylor (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.), Linfield’s individual leader after the first round at 72, shot 75 on Monday to end up with a 3-over-par 147, good for a share of 12th place. Kyle Hargrave (Jr., Clackamas, Ore.) was consistent, firing matching 75s on both days. Hargrave and Taylor Pirnke (Jr., Mill Creek, Wash.) both finished at 150. Ryan Nolan turned in rounds of 76 and 75 to score 151, while Connor Magnuson shot 77-78-155.
“Our guys played pretty well (in the second round),” said Wildcats coach Greg Copeland. “The greens were a little faster today and we didn’t miss as many short putts as we did (on Sunday).”
Klopp and Pirnke’s round included eagles on the par-5 seventh hole. Nolan nearly pulled off a hole in one on No. 6, coming within a foot of the pin.
“As a team, everyone was pretty darn consistent,” said Copeland. “All six guys scored in the 70s on both days.”
Whitworth’s Lyle Rudnicki shot a crisp 69 to earn medalist honors, edging George Fox’s Chris Lumsden by two strokes.
With all but one of the Northwest Conference teams present at the competition, the eight-team tournament was a preview of how each team has progressed since last season.
“Every team picked up some good freshmen,” noted Copeland. “We have to be ready to face some good competition every week.”
NEXT: The Wildcats are idle until Oct. 14-15 when they head to Chambers Bay Golf Course to compete in the Pacific Lutheran Invitational. The two-day tournament, contested on the site of the 2015 U.S. Open, is the final tune-up for the ‘Cats prior to the NWC Fall Classic, Oct. 27-28, at Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield, Wash.
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