NWC CHAMPIONSHIP: Bruins Improve but Still Finish 8th in Season’s Final Tournament
KENNEWICK, Wash. - Although they were one of only three teams to shave a few strokes from their first day’s score, the George Fox University Bruins remained in eighth place out of nine teams as the 2012 Northwest Conference Men’s Golf Championship Tournament came to a conclusion Sunday here at the Canyon Lakes Golf Course.
The Bruins cut their second-day score from 325 on Saturday to 320, finishing with a total four-player team score of 645 on the par-72, 6,683-yard course. Linfield College hung onto its first-day lead and won the tournament by three strokes with a final score of 293-303=596 to Whitworth University’s 298-301=599. The University of Puget Sound took third with a 303-303=606, followed by Pacific Lutheran University with a 303-311=614, Pacific University with a 311-312=623, Whitman College with a 319-313=632, Willamette University with a 314-320=634, George Fox, and Lewis & Clark College with a 376-364=740.
The Bruins’ best scorer for the tournament was Chris Lumsden, who carded a 79-78=157 to finish 24th on the leader board. George Fox’s first-day leader, Aleks Gabrio, shot a 76-84=160 to tie for 27th. Mike Ulstad had the largest one-day improvement of any golfer in the tournament, bringing his score down 14 strokes from an 89 to a 75 on Sunday, the seventh-best score of the day, to finish tied for 34th with a 164.
Also scoring for the Bruins on Sunday was Kyle Wilson with a final count of 83-83=166, placing him 37th. Tyler Dyck rounded out the Bruin fivesome with an 87-84=171, tying for 38th.
Alex Fitch of Linfield followed up his round of 68 on Saturday with a 74 on Sunday to finish with a final of two-under 142, claiming medalist honors. He was the only player to finish the tournament under par. Nick Kelly of Puget Sound rallied to a runner-up finish with a score of 73-73=147, while Dustin Hegge of Pacific Lutheran totaled 69-79=148 to finish third.
Based on his top-three finishes in the three major Northwest Conference tournaments throughout the year (the Fall Classic, Spring Classic, and NWC Championship Tournament), Hegge earned NWC Player of the Year honors. He is joined on the All-NWC First Team by Fitch, Jesse Salzwedel of Whitworth, Kelly, Scott Martin of Whitman, and Taylor Kopp of Linfield.
With its team victory in the final tournament, Linfield secured the overall league championship and earned the NWC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament for the second year in a row. Based on an accumulated point total over the course of the fall and spring, the Wildcats finished with 31 points, while Whitworth jumped to second place in the final team standings with 25 points, one point ahead of Puget Sound. Whitman and Pacific Lutheran tied for fourth with 19 points, Pacific was sixth with 10, George Fox and Willamette tied for seventh with eight, and Lewis & Clark was ninth with zero points.
Complete results of the NWC Championship Tournament, courtesy of the Whitworth sports information office, are available on the George Fox men’s golf web site at http://athletics.georgefox.edu/sports/mgolf/2011-12/files/0421.htm.