By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- In the Northwest Conference, winning the NWC Tournament and winning the NWC Championship are two different things. On Sunday, April 28, the Willamette University men's golf team accomplished both tasks. The Bearcats won the NWC Tournament by nine strokes with a 36-hole score of 598. Willamette's victory in the tournament allowed the Bearcats to also win the 2018-19 NWC Championship, which is based on results from three tournaments.
The overall result is that Willamette will receive the NWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships. The NCAA Championships are set for May 14-17 at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Thirty-two of the 42 team berths will go to conference champions. In addition to team berths, such as Willamette's, there will be six individual golfers selected to complete the tournament field.
Three Bearcats placed in the top five at the NWC Tournament. Sam Hinton (Sr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS) and Austin Davis (Fr., Culver City, CA/Culver City HS) tied for third place at 149, while Trent Jones (Sr., Kenmore, WA/Shorecrest HS) placed fifth at 150.
Willamette's NWC Championship was won with this weekend's first place finish at the NWC Tournament, plus second place at the NWC Fall Classic and third place at the NWC Spring Classic. The NWC Tournament is worth one-half of the overall title, while the NWC Fall Classic and the NWC Spring Classic are each worth one-fourth of the title. Points are awarded to the teams at the Fall Classic and the Spring Classic on an 8-7-6-5-etc. basis and at the NWC Tournament on a 16-14-12-10-etc. basis.
The Bearcats claimed the NWC Championship with 29 points (7-6-16). Whitworth, which won the Fall Classic and Spring Classic, took third place at the NWC Tournament and finished second overall with 28 points (8-8-12). George Fox University, which grabbed second place behind the Bearcats at the NWC Tournament, placed third overall with 24 points (5-5-14). Pacific Lutheran University placed fourth in the overall standings with 23 points (6-7-10).
Willamette shot 309 in the first round and 1-over-par 289 in the second round of the NWC Tournament to win the event at 598. The Bearcats' score of 309 on Saturday during windy and gusty conditions was nine strokes better than any other team in the first round. George Fox took second place at 607 (319-288). Whitworth was third at 617 (325-292) after moving up three spots from the first round.
Pacific Lutheran placed fourth at 618 (322-296), just one stroke behind Whitworth. University of Puget Sound was fifth at 621 (323-298), Linfield College was sixth at 628 (318-310) after entering the second round in second place. Pacific University took seventh at 671 (350-321), Lewis & Clark College was eighth at 676 (351-325), and Whitman College was ninth at 683 (352-331).
The individual title at the NWC Tournament went to Joshua Lackey from George Fox, who shot a tournament-low 5-under-par 67 in the second round for a 36-hole score of 147. Lackey carded an 80 in the first round and was tied for 13th entering Sunday's action. Derrick Phelps of Whitworth earned second place at 148 after shooting 77-71.
Hinton and Davis followed in third place for the Bearcats with their 149s. Hinton shot 80 in the first round and improved to a 3-under-par 69 in the second round that trailed only Lackey for the low round of the tournament. Davis registered scores of 78 and 71.
Jones achieved his fifth place finish at 150 with a 77 in the first round and a 73 in the second round. Mason Koch of GFU and Austin Darnell of PLU tied for sixth place at 151, as both golfers shot 77-74.
A three-way tie for eighth place at 153 included Kenneth Sheldon (Sr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS) of Willamette as well as Dante Heitschmidt from Geroge Fox and Matthew McClure from Linfield. Sheldon carded 75-78, while Heitschmidt shot 79-74 and McClur shot 74-79. Mac Turner from Puget Sound was 11th at 154 (78-76).
Andrew Kibbee (Fr., Kenmore, WA/Bothell HS) completed Willamette's lineup with a score of 155. He tied for 12th place after recording a 79 in the first round and a 76 in the second round. Reilly Hegarty from Whitworth also tied for 12th at 155 (81-74). A total of 45 golfers competed in the tournament.
The All-Northwest Conference Men's Golf Team will be announced on Tuesday, April 30.
Big Moment of the Day for Willamette
Sam Hinton carded a 3-under-par 69 in the second round
of the Northwest Conference Tournament to tie for third
place at 149 and help Willamette win the team title on its
way to the overall NWC Championship. Including the final
14 holes of the first round, Hinton shot 2-under par over
the final 32 holes.