Hinton Wins Whitworth Invite, Jones is 2nd, as Bearcats Grab Title by 12 Strokes

Sam Hinton (Jr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS)
Sam Hinton (Jr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Sam Hinton (Jr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS) shot a 2-under par 70 in the second round of the Whitworth Men's Invitational to win the individual title with a 36-hole score of 141, as the tournament concluded at the Kalispel Golf and Country Club on Monday, Oct. 2. Hinton, who shot a 1-under 71 in Sunday's first round, won medalist honors by four stroke over teammate Trent Jones (Jr., Kenmore, WA/Shorecrest HS). Jones carded a 75 in the first round and matched Hinton with a 70 in the second round, to finish in second place at 1-over par 145.

The efforts of Hinton and Jones led the Bearcats to the team championship with a score of 583 for a margin of victory of 12 strokes over Pacific Lutheran University, which took second place at 595. Willamette shot 295 in the first round and improved to 288 in the second round. while the Lutes shot 300 and 295. All five Willamette golfers competing in the tournament carded scores in the 70s each day.

"We played well. I was really proud of the way the guys played today," Willamette Head Coach Patrick Daugherty said. "They stepped up big time, but more importantly they really finished well. Overall, we closed out the tournament very strong and didn't give any opportunity for a team to creep back in there. That's just playing with maturity and good course management, and having guys with good tournament experience under their belt. I'm really excited about where we are."

On the individual leaderboard, Hinton and Jones were followed by a four-way tie for third place that included Ben Graham (Fr., Renton, WA/Liberty HS) of Willamette. Graham, who carded a 72 and a 75, was matched at 147 by Mitchell Baldridge (75-72) and Austin Darnell (73-74) from Pacific Lutheran University, as well as Sam Stiles (71-76) from Whitworth University.

Two golfers, Lucas Balala of Linfield College and Elijah Pittser from Whitworth, tied for seventh place at 149. Balala and Pittser each shot 76-73. Ninth place was shared by Mason Phalen (Fr., Kenmore, WA/Inglemoor HS) of Willamette and Jordan Brajcich of Pacific Lutheran at 150. Phalen carded 77-73, while Brajcich shot 76-74.

Willamette team included Hinton, Jones, Graham, Phalen and Kenneth Sheldon (Jr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS). Sheldon finished in a tie for 19th place at 156 after shooting a 78 in each round. A total of 46 golfers competed in the tournament.

The team standings began with Willamette and Pacific Lutheran as the only teams below 600 for the 36 holes. Whitworth's top team placed third at 612 (305-307) and Linfield was fourth at 620 (310-310). Whitworth's second team was fifth with a score of 624 (309-315), while University of Puget Sound took sixth place at 646 (327-319). Whitman College was seventh at 655 (332-323) and Pacific University was eighth at 675 (340-335).

Willamette entered the Whitworth Invitational tied for #25 in the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll for NCAA Division III released on Friday, Sept. 29.

Up next for the Bearcats will be the GFU Men's Invitational, hosted by George Fox University at the Gearhart Golf Links in Gearhart, Oregon, on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8.