Four Bearcats Finish 11th or Higher as Willamette is Second at Spring Classic

WU Leads NWC Championship Standings after Two of Three Events

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

KENNEWICK, WASH. -- Four Willamette University men's golfers finished in 11th place or higher, leading the Bearcats to second place in the team standings, as the Northwest Conference Spring Classic ended at the Canyon Lakes Golf Course on Sunday, April 6.

The tournament featured all nine NWC teams and a total of 43 golfers. Everyone had to deal with significant wind on both days of the event, including gusts of 15 to 25 miles per hour throughout the second round on Sunday.

Whitworth University won the team title with a score of 618 (304-314). Willamette's score in second place was 634 (316-318). Pacific Lutheran University earned third place at 637 (321-316).

Linfield College and the University of Puget Sound tied for fourth at 654. Linfield carded 326-328, while UPS shot 319-335.

Whitman College finished sixth at 662 (338-324), while Pacific University was seventh at 669 (339-330) and Lewis & Clark College was eighth at 679 (356-323). George Fox University was ninth at 711 (372-339).

The Bearcats lead the NWC Championship standings after two of the three events that determine the title. Willamette won the NWC Fall Classic in addition to placing second at the Spring Classic for a total of 15 points.

Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth are tied for second place overall with 13 points. Puget Sound follows in fourth at 10.5, while Linfield is fifth at 8.5. Lewis & Clark, Pacific and Whitman are all tied for sixth place with 4 points. George Fox is ninth with no points.

The Fall Classic and the Spring Classic each count for one-fourth of the overall championship. The NWC Tournament, which will be held at the Oregon Golf Association Golf Course on April 26-27, will provide the final half with 16 points to the winning team.

For Willamette at the Spring Classic, Ryan Kukula (Jr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS) and Clark Wilson (Fr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS) tied for eighth place, while Chase Lamothe (Fr., Corvallis, OR/Corvallis HS) and Steven Rodriguez (So., Red Bluff, CA/Mercy HS) tied for 11th. Peter Mitzel (Fr., Red Bluff, CA/Red Bluff HS) tied for 20th.

Kukula and Wilson each shot 158 for the tournament. Kukula earned a 78 in the first round and an 80 in the second round. Wilson shot a 79 in both rounds. Lamothe carded 78-81--159, while Rodriguez shot 81-78--159. Mitzel earned a score of 164 (82-82).

The individual champion of the NWC Spring Classic was Stephen Plopper from Whitworth, who finished at 151 (76-75). Joshua Mau of Pacific and Oliver Rudnicki from Whitworth tied for second, two strokes behind Plopper at 153. Mau shot 77-76. Rudnicki, who led the field with a 72 in the first round, shot 81 in the second round. His 72 was the low round of the tournament.

Dustin Hegge of Pacific Lutheran and Jesse Salzwedel of Whitworth each shot 154 to tie for fourth place. Hegge earned consecutive scores of 77, while Salzwedel shot 76-78.

Sixth place was split between Justin Lee of PLU (80-77) and Logan Munson of Linfield (82-75), as each golfer scored 157. Munson's 75 tied Plopper and Dylan Harris of GFU for low round of the second day.

Joining Kukula and Wilson in eighth place was Seth Nickerson of PLU, who also shot 158 (80-78). Andrew Welch from Whitman shot 159 (82-77) to tie Lamothe and Rodriguez for 11th place.

NWC Spring Classic
Canyon Lakes Golf Course
Kennewick, Wash.
April 5-6, 2014
Par 72
Ryan Kukula tied for eighth place at the NWC Spring Classic. Clark Wilson also tied for eight place for the Bearcats.

Ryan Kukula tied for eighth place at the NWC Spring Classic. Clark Wilson also tied for eight place for the Bearcats.