Willamette Wins NWC Fall Classic, as Ueno Earns Medalist Honors

BLUE RIVER, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's golf team battled back from third place and an eight-stroke deficit after the first day to win the Northwest Conference Fall Classic by one stroke, Oct. 22-23 at the Tokatee Golf Course. Willamette sophomore Whitney Ueno (Hilo, HI/Hilo HS), also rallied from third place on the first day to take medalist honors with a 78-74--152.

WU won the team title with a two-day total of 689 (346-343). The Bearcats trailed Whitworth College (338) and the University of Pugest Sound (339) following the first round. On the second day, Willamette shot 343, while UPS earned a 351 and Whitworth carded a 356.

In the final standings, the Bearcats won by a single stroke over Puget Sound (690). Also finishing close in the team standings were Linfield College in third place at 692 and Whitworth in fourth place at 694. Linfield had the best team score on the second day (342), but couldn't overcome a 350 in the opening round.

Pacific Lutheran University and Pacific University tied for fifth place in the team standings at 716, while George Fox University finished in seventh place at 854. Lewis & Clark did not field a complete team.

Ueno's 152 placed her two strokes in front of Emily Lau of UPS, who shot a 154 (76-78). Ueno, who took 10th place at the NCAA Division III National Championship this past spring, faced a two-stroke deficit behind Lau after the first day. Lau competed at the NCAA National Championship in 2005. Leslie Wheeler, of Linfield, who took third place at 155 (77-78), trailed Lau by just one stroke after the first 18 holes.

Willamette's May Ushikubo (So., West Vancouver, BC, Canada/Collingwood School) tied for fourth place at 85-82--167. Also tying for fourth place was Jasmine Ching of Pacific University, who shot 82-85--167.

Ueno and Ushikubo led the way for the Bearcats, but Willamette also was represented by four other golfers. Rachel Shahbaz (Fr., Portland, OR/St. Mary's Academy) placed 11th with a two-day score of 172 (87-85). Ashley Buchheit (Jr., Mt. Angel, OR/John F. Kennedy HS) shot 201 (96-105), while Michelle Benrath (Sr., Bend, OR/Bend HS) carded a 205 (103-102) and Tanya Schiller (Fr., South Bend, Wa/South Bend HS) shot 252 (125-127).

The NWC Fall Classic is one of three tournaments used to determine the Northwest Conference championship. The other two tournaments will be held in the spring.

NWC Fall Classic
Oct. 22-23, 2006
Tokatee Golf Course
Blue River, Ore., Par 72

Willamette Results
Whitney Ueno, 152 (78-74), Medalist (1st place)
May Ushikubo, 167 (85-82)
Rachel Shahbaz, 172 (87-85)
Ashley Buchheit, 201 (96-105)
Michelle Benrath, 205 (103-102)
Tanya Schiller, 252 (125-127)
Team Total, 689 (346-343), 1st Place