Young Bearcat linksters show plenty of promise for the future

Oftentimes youth and inexperience are enough to dump an athletic team to the bottom of the standings. But those obstacles didn’t appear to be too much of the problem for the Willamette men’s golf team this year.

With a roster of five freshmen, one sophomore and one senior, the Bearcats went from tournament to tournament, turning heads at every stop.

WU had two second-place finishes and a tie for first during the fall, and finished up with the first place trophy at the Northwest Conference’s Fall Classic.

The Bearcats then placed third, second, third and fourth in four regular season spring tournaments.

WU followed that up by taking third place in the Northwest Conference championships with a 54-hole score of 904 at Tokatee Golf Club in Blue River, despite shooting the tournament’s low round of 296 in the final round. Puget Sound won the NWC crown (893) and Pacific Lutheran was second (902).

The Bearcats were led by freshman Chris Nutwell, who averaged 76.8 per round for the year with a hot 75.5 for the fall season. He shot the fall season’s only sub-par round, a 70 at Aspen Lakes near Sisters.

Close behind Nutwell was freshman Kris Hunt, who averaged 77.2 for the year. He earned all-conference honors in late April by tying for second place in the conference tournament with a 74-73-71—218 at the par 72 Tokatee course.

Freshman Paul Crisalli ended the year with a 79.0 average. He shot a two-under 70 in the final round of the NWC tournament, but missed several other tournaments during the year due to a commitment to Willamette’s forensics program.

The Bearcats also received strong play from freshmen Rio Kuteira with a 79.2 season’s average. Frosh Cord Jonson (83.8), sophomore George Hays (81.7), and senior Brad Svee rounded out the team.