RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – Sparked by a nine-stroke improvement from Connor Magnuson and an eight-stroke upgrade by Ryan Nolan, the Linfield Wildcats moved up one spot in the final standings of the Northwest Conference Fall Classic, staged Saturday and Sunday at Tri-Mountain Golf Course.
On Sunday, Linfield carded the day’s second-lowest total after beginning the day in fifth place.
As a team, the Wildcats trimmed 23 strokes from their first day score, eventually settling for a fourth-place tie with Whitman. Linfield shot 318-295-613, trailing team champion Whitworth by 26 strokes. Puget Sound earned second place with a two-round total of 606, one stroke better than Pacific Lutheran, which shot 607.
Willamette’s Ryan Kukula’s stormed out of nowhere to take top individual honors, shooting 74-68-142 to end the tournament at 2-under par. Kukula’s edged the combined totals of Whitworth’s Jesse Salzwedel’s 143 and first-round leader Dustin Hegge’s 144.
Magnuson recovered from a mediocre 81 on Saturday to fire a 70. His 151 total earned him 12th place. Taylor Klopp (Jr., Eugene, Ore.) matched his first-round score of 76 and ended the tournament in a tie for 13th place at 152. Nolan vaulted from an 81 on Saturday to a 73 on Sunday. That netted the sophomore a share of 17th place. Other Linfield placers included Taylor Pirnke (Jr., Mill Creek, Wash.), who tied for 24th at 80-78-158 and A.J. Taylor (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.), who took a portion of 28th place with a score of 84-76-160.
The Fall Classic scores will carry over to the spring and count as one-fourth of the scoring formula used to determine the 2012-13 team champion. The Wildcats are the two-time reigning NWC champions.
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