RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – Sparked by a nine-stroke improvement from Connor Magnuson (Soph., Albany, Ore.) and an eight-stroke upgrade by Ryan Nolan (Soph., Tigard, Ore.), 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 (Soph., 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 (Soph., Mill Creek, Wash.), who tied for 24th at 80-78-158 and A.J. Taylor (Jr., 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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