Willamette Finishes Seventh at NWC Spring Classic in Men's Golf

Kukula Earns a 75 in Second Round, Ties for Eighth Place

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

PENDLETON, ORE. -- Willamette University finished in seventh place at the Northwest Conference Spring Classic in men's golf after shooting 328 on the final round, Sunday, April 1 at the Wildhorse Golf Course. The Bearcats shot 641 for the two-day tournament, including a score of 313 in the first round on Saturday.

Eight of the nine teams carded higher scores in the second round than over the first 18 holes. Only Linfield College reduced its score on the second day, and the improvement led to the team title.

Linfield used the strong second round to rally from 11 strokes off the pace after the first day to win by six strokes with an overall score of 609 (310-299). Whitman College placed second at 615 (300-315) and Whitworth University was third at 616 (303-313). Pacific Lutheran University, which led at the end of the first day at 299, shot 322 in the second round and finished fourth at 621.

University of Puget Sound took fifth place at 626 (304-322), with George Fox University in sixth at 637 (316-321) and Willamette in seventh at 641 (313-328). Pacific University was eighth at 670 (333-337) and Lewis & Clark placed ninth at 736 (365-371).

Jesse Salzwedel of Whitworth, who was third after the first day, won medalist honors at 1-under-par 143 (71-72). Scott Martin of Whitman placed second at 146 (70-76), while Stephen Plopper of Whitworth was third at 148 (69-79). Plopper entered the round with a lead of one stroke on Martin and two strokes on Salzwedel. Dustin Hegge from Pacific Lutheran University took fourth at 149 (72-77).

Willamette's top finisher was Ryan Kukula (Fr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS), who tied for eighth place with three other golfers at 153 (78-75). Kukula began the day tied for 19th. His 75 on Sunday tied Connor Magnuson of Linfield for the third best round of the day.

Salzwedel's 72 was the second lowest score of the round. Low scoring honors went to Taylor Klopp of Linfield who shot a 70. Klopp tied for fifth place overall (80-70) with Wildcat teammate Alex Fitch (73-77) as both golfers ended the 36 holes at 150.

Following Kukula on Willamette's team scorecard was Jonathan Ross (Fr., Tukwila, WA/Foster HS) at 162 (75-82), as he tied for 22nd.

Cody Plofker (Fr., Montclair, NJ/Montclair HS) and Jacob Simonson (So., Fairview, OR/Reynolds HS) of WU each shot 163. Plofker's scores were 81-82, while Simonson went 77-86. Kyle Derby (So., Oakdale, CA/Oakdale HS) shot 172 (81-91) for the Bearcats.

The NWC Spring Classic counts for one-fourth of the overall NWC championship. The NWC Fall Classic also counts for one-fourth, with the NWC Championship Tournament (April 21-22) counting for one-half.

Up next for the Bearcats will be the West Region Invitational at the Berry Creek Country Club in Georgetown, Texas on Monday, April 9 and Tuesday, April 10.


Northwest Conference
Spring Classic
At Wildhorse Golf Course
Pendleton, Ore.

Ryan Kukula shot a 75 in the second round to finish at 153 and tie for eighth place.

Ryan Kukula shot a 75 in the second round to finish at 153 and tie for eighth place.