Medalist Kuteira leads Bearcats to NWC title

BLUE RIVER, Ore. — Sophomore Rio Kuteira fired a 5-under-par 67 to spark Willamette University to a Northwest Conference men’s golf championship Tuesday at Tokatee Golf Course.

Willamette, which posted a 285 team score in Tuesday’s third and final round, finished with a 54-hole score of 872, nine strokes better than second-place Pacific Lutheran University. The University of Puget Sound placed third with an 895 total.

Linfield College totaled 913 to take fourth place. Pacific University was fifth with 923, followed by Whitman College at 942 and Lewis & Clark College at 946.

Kuteira, who shot par or better in each of his three rounds, took medalist honors with a 6-under-par total of 210. Pacific Lutheran’s Chris Keough and Linfield’s Jeff Dunn tied for second place at 213.

Three more sophomores rounded out the six-man All-Northwest Conference team: Willamette’s Kris Hunt, who placed fourth at 216; Puget Sound’s Ian Courtnage, who was fifth at 218; and Willamette’s Cord Jonson, who finished sixth at 220.

The tournament’s first two rounds were played on Monday. Going into Tuesday’s final round, Willamette was three stokes ahead of defending champion Puget Sound and eight shots in front of Pacific Lutheran.

Willamette’s title was its first in men’s golf since 1999.