ALOHA, Ore. – Kevin Kawasaki (Jr., West Linn, Ore.) and the Linfield Wildcats got their fall season off on the right foot, grabbing a share of first place after Day 1 of the Pacific Invitational Saturday at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club.
Kawasaki, a Linfield junior, shot a crisp 71 to sit in fourth place, three strokes back of first-round leader Jared Lambert of Corban. Nick Johnson of Pacific and Ryan Kukula from Willamette are in close pursuit, both with matching 70s to share second.
The Wildcats fielded two squads with the first unit scoring a collective 295 to tie Willamette for the first-day lead. The Linfield second unit shot 323 to sit in eighth position heading to Sunday’s final round.
“My putting is what saved me today,” said Kawasaki. “The course has a couple of tough holes but the greens were true and faster than what we have been used to playing on.”
In addition to Kawasaki’s shining round, the Wildcats’ first team was buoyed by the 74 of Taylor Pirnke (Jr., Mill Creek, Wash.), who stands tied for eight, and matching 75s by Taylor Klopp (Jr., Eugene, Ore.) and Logan Munson (Jr., Wilsonville, Ore.), both deadlocked at 11th. Sam McClain (Fr., Tacoma, Wash.) shot an 80 to hold a share of 28th.
Wildcats coach Greg Copeland said he was pleased with his retooled team and pleasantly surprised with the group’s first outing of the fall. “Our guys have been working hard every day in practice. And there are not a lot of opportunities for them to show they can compete.”
Linfield’s second unit featured Kyle Hargrave (Jr., Clackamas, Ore.), tied for 22nd with a 78, Nathan Pellatz, tied for 25th with a 79, Evan Kasberg (Fr., Kamuela, Hawaii), tied for 28th at 80, followed by scores of 80 from Bryce Anderson (Fr., Miles City, Mont.) and Thomas Arand (Jr., McMinnville, Ore.).
“I’m very encouraged,” said Copeland. “The guys are hitting the ball well off the tee and I’m encouraged by how well they are putting.”
Action resumes Sunday morning at The Reserve.
Three strokes back
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