MISSION, Ore. – With all five of their players finishing among the top 11 individuals, the fifth-ranked George Fox University Bruins ran away from the field to record a 30-stroke victory in the Northwest Conference Women's Golf Spring Classic which came to a blustery conclusion Sunday here at the Wildhorse Resort Golf Course.
The Bruins, battling stiff winds that peaked at midday and slowed tapered off, were the only team to improve their score from Saturday, shooting a 308 to finish with a 36-hole total of 312-308=620. Their score was one shot off the record for a Northwest Conference event of 619, which George Fox shot in last year's NWC Championship Tournament on Apr. 22-23 at the Columbia Point Golf Course in Richland, Wash., clinching the 2010-11 conference title.
Whitman College, the tournament host and No. 16 team in the nation, finished second with a 320-330=650 total. Whitworth University also shot 330 in the final round to take third at 328-330=658. Linfield College was fourth at 331-350=681, followed by Willamette University at 338-352=690, Pacific Lutheran University at 356-360=716, Pacific University at 385-385=770, and the University of Puget Sound at 419-438=857. Lewis & Clark College had two individuals playing and no team score.
The Bruins' Kelsey Morrison, shooting her fourth consecutive sub-par round on Sunday, captured medalist honors by carding a one-under 71 on the par-72, 5,837-yard course to finish with a two-under 71-71=142. Closing with a flourish, she narrowly missed an eagle on the 18th hole and had to 'settle' for a birdie instead. Playing perhaps the best golf of anyone at the NCAA Division III level at this time, she has shot 69-67-71-71 on her last four rounds.
Aiding the George Fox cause Sunday were Jill Westendorf, who tied for third with a final 80-78=158; Loreece Magsanide, who tied for sixth with an 81-79=160; and Abby Mann, who also tied for sixth with an 80-80=160. Megan McGrew took 11th place with an 84-82=166.
Runner-up to Morrison on the leader board was Nicole Lomax of Whitworth, who finished 11 strokes off the pace with a 77-76=153. Tying Westendorf for third were Whitman's Catelyn Webber (80-78=158) and Elaine Whaley (78-80=158).
"I was proud of our team's performance today in very tough, windy conditions," said George Fox coach MaryJo McCloskey. "I even thought we might not play today, as there were gusts of over 40 mph early on. We pushed through it, though, and the team played great; I was pleased with how our players stayed focused. I felt like this was even a stronger performance than two weeks ago in Phoenix, considering the elements."
Team results from the Spring Classic combine with results from last October's Fall Classic to account for half of the season-long scoring system used to determine the final conference champion and the automatic bid to the NCAA National Tournament. The NWC Championship Tournament, slated for Apr. 21-22 back at Columbia Point, accounts for the final 50 percent of the season-long scoring.
George Fox has won both the Fall and Spring Classics now and sits in first place with 16 points, while Whitman was second in both Classics and has 14 points. Linfield, Willamette, and Whitworth are tied for third with 10 points apiece. Other team totals at the mid-point in scoring are Pacific Lutheran with six, Pacific with four, Puget Sound with two, and Lewis & Clark with none.
Results of the NWC Spring Classic, courtesy of the Whitman sports information office, are on the George Fox women's golf website at http://athletics.georgefox.edu/sports/wgolf/2011-12/files/0401.htm.
NEXT: The Bruins are off for three weeks until the NWC Championship Tournament.