Bearcats are Ready to Challenge for NWC Men's Golf Championship

NWC Tournament Set for Saturday and Sunday at OGA Golf Course in Woodburn

By Robert McKinney and Jessie Yi

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's golf team is ready to challenge for the overall Northwest Conference title this weekend during the NWC Tournament, held at the Oregon Golf Association Golf Course in Woodburn, Ore. The 36-hole event is worth one-half of the NWC team championship.

Action in the first round is set to begin on Saturday, April 26 at 11 a.m. (PDT). The second round, scheduled for Sunday, April 27, will start at 9 a.m.

The NWC Tournament is one of three events that determine the NWC team title. Also included are the NWC Fall Classic and the NWC Spring Classic, each worth one-fourth of the overall title.

After taking first place in the Fall Classic and second place in the Spring Classic, Willamette is leading the Northwest Conference standings with 15 points heading into this weekend’s tournament. Points at the Fall Classic and the Spring Classic were awarded on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0 basis.

Pacific Lutheran University and Whitworth University are tied for second place with 13 points. PLU took second place and Whitworth was fourth at the Fall Classic, while the Pirates won the Spring Classic and the Lutes finished third. University of Puget Sound is fourth with 10.5 points.

Linfield College is fifth with 8.5 points, while Lewis & Clark College, Pacific University and Whitman College are tied for sixth with 4 points. George Fox University is ninth with no points.

The team that wins the NWC Tournament this weekend will received 16 points. Fourteen points will go to the team in second place, with 12 points for third place, 10 points for fourth, etc.

Willamette's Ryan Kukula (Jr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS) is one of the contenders for the individual title at the NWC Tournament. Other top challengers for medalist honors are Dustin Hegge from Pacific Lutheran, plus Oliver Rudnicki, Stephen Plopper and Jesse Salzwedel, all from Whitworth, and Clark Wilson (Fr., Ocean Park, WA/ Ilwaco HS) from Willamette.

Whitworth is aiming to be the NWC Champion for the second year in a row, led by Salzwedel, a senior and three-time First Team All-NWC selection. The Pirates have won two of the last four NWC titles.

Kukula, who was named NWC Player of the Year in 2012-13, also is among the leaders for the award this season. He won the NWC Fall Classic and tied for eighth at the NWC Spring Classic this year.

In addition to Kukula and Wilson, other golfers competing for Willamette will be Peter Mitzel (Fr., Red Bluff, CA/Red Bluff HS), Steven Rodriguez (So., Red Bluff, CA/Mercy HS) and Jonathan Ross.

CHAMPIONSHIPS WEBSITE

2014 NWC Tournament
OGA Golf Course
Woodburn, Ore.
April 26-27, 2014
Par 72

Ryan Kukula won the NWC Fall Classic and tied for eighth at the NWC Spring Classic.

Ryan Kukula won the NWC Fall Classic and tied for eighth at the NWC Spring Classic.