By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Willamette University men's golfer Sam Hinton (Jr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS) shot a 2-over-par 74 in the first round of the Northwest Conference Spring Classic at the Hangman Valley Golf Course on Saturday, April 7 to end the opening day tied for fifth place. Hinton was 3-over-par on the front nine, but shot 1-under on the back nine with eight pars and a birdie on the par-4 15th hole. The tournament will conclude with the second round on Sunday, April 8.
Hinton concluded the round just three strokes off the lead. Keegan Loo of Whitworth University led the field with a 1-under-par 71. Reilly Hegarty, also from Whitworth, held second place with an even-par 72.
Logan Davis from Linfield College and Alex Plusquellec of George Fox University were tied for third place at 73. Hinton was tied for fifth with three other golfers who shot 74 -- Mason Koch of George Fox plus Jordan Brajcich and Jared Beals, both from Pacific Lutheran University.
Ninth place was a three-way tie between Austin Darnell of PLU, Luke Olson of Pacific University and Clayton Rajewich from GFU, all at 75.
Ben Graham (Fr., Renton, WA/Liberty HS) of Willamette was one of four golfers tied for 19th place after carding a 79 in the first round.
Also competing for Willamette were Kenneth Sheldon (Jr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS), Trent Jones (Jr., Kenmore, WA/Shorecrest HS) and Spencer Hong (Sr., Bellevue, WA/Singapore American School). Sheldon shot 83, while Jones shot 86 and Hong earned an 87.
Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth were tied at the top of the team leaderbaord with matching scores of 299. George Fox was third at 301 and Linfield followed in fourth at 313. Willamette and University of Puget Sound were tied for fifth place at 322. The Bearcats had a strong back nine and hope to carry their momentum into the second round.
Pacific University held seventh place with a score of 324. Whitman College was eighth at 330, while Lewis & Clark College was ninth at 383.
The NWC Spring Classic is one of three tournaments used to determine the overall NWC champion. The Spring Classic is worth one-fourth of the overall title and the NWC Fall Classic is worth one-fourth. The NWC Tournament, set for April 21-22, counts for one-half of the title. Willamette won the Fall Classic and leads the current standings with 8 points, followed by George Fox at 7, Pacific Lutheran with 6, Whitworth with 5, Linfield with 4, Puget Sound with 3, Pacific with 2, Whitman with 1 and Lewis & Clark with 0.