BREMERTON, Wash. – Shrugging off standing water and a two-stroke penalty to begin play, the Linfield Wildcats forged a third-place position after 18 holes of the nine-team Northwest Conference Spring Classic at Gold Mountain Golf Club.
Extreme wind and rain wrought havoc on Saturday’s opening round, impacting the play of all teams at the event, which counts 25 percent towards deciding the NWC 2012-13 team champion.
Linfield, the two-time defending NWC champion, shot a combined total of 306 to trail early leader Whitworth by 15 strokes. Pacific Lutheran is second, three strokes better than Linfield at 303.
Wildcats sophomore Ryan Nolan paced Linfield scorers with a 1-over-par 73, two strokes back of first-round leader Ryan Kukula’s 71. Whitworth teammates Joey DeGroff and Jesse Salzwedel shot even-par 72s to share second place.
Nolan, who was one-under par after nine holes, sits in a three-way tie for fourth place heading to Sunday’s second round. On the par-3 third hole, his tee shot landed crisply within one foot of the pin.
Recording four birdies on the day, Linfield freshman Adam Ruben carded a 76 grab a share of ninth place.
When Klopp arrived at the first tee a bit tardy, he was assessed a two-stroke penalty. Yet Klopp went out to birdie two of his first four holes and finished the day at 77, good for a portion of 11th place.
“All the guys were pretty focused, getting some quality shots,” said Wildcats coach Greg Copeland. “The one area where we could have performed better was with our short putting.”
Tommy Schmitz (Sr., Gresham, Ore.) shot 80 and is tied for 21st while Kyle Hargrave (Jr., Clackamas, Ore.) had an 81 to round out the Linfield scoring. Schmitz chipped in the ball on No. 18 to record his only birdie of the day.
“The course was fairly forgiving but the greens were kind of tough,” said Copeland. “We stayed out of trouble for the most part.”
Birdies 2 of first 4 holes
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