Bearcats are 17th after 18 Holes at NCAA Golf Championships

Andrew Kibbee (Fr., Kenmore, WA/Bothell HS)
Andrew Kibbee (Fr., Kenmore, WA/Bothell HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. -- Willamette University ended the first round of the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships in 17th place out of 42 teams on Tuesday, May 14 at the Keene Trace Golf Club. WU's team score was 308 on the Champion Trace course. Half of the teams played at Champion Trace, while the other half competed on the Keene Run course.

All five of the Bearcats were within two strokes of each other. Andrew Kibbee (Fr., Kenmore, WA/Bothell HS) led the way with a 4-over-par 76, while Kenneth Sheldon (Sr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS) and Sam Hinton (Sr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS) each carded a 77. Trent Jones (Sr., Kenmore, WA/Shorecrest HS) and Austin Davis both shot 78.

On the individual leaderboard, Kibbee was tied for 60th place, Sheldon and Hinton were tied for 81st, and Jones and Davis were tied for 93rd. A total of 215 golfers are playing in the first two rounds.

Illinois Wesleyan University was first in the team standings with a score of 1-under-par 287. Concordia University (Texas) was second at even-par 288. Trinity College (Conn.) held third place at 290, while Oglethorpe University (Ga.) and Wittenberg University (Ohio) were tied for fourth at 295. All five of the leading teams played at the Keene Run course on Tuesday.

Willamette was seventh among the teams at Champion Trace. The Champion Trace course is about 300 yards longer than Keene Run and is considered the more difficult course.

Guilford College (N.C.) earned the lowest score at Champion Trace in the first round and was sixth overall at 296. Guilford was paired with Willamette and Gettysburg College (Pa.) for tee times at Champion Trace. Gettysburg shot 314 and was tied for 25th overall.

The Bearcats had some of the day's earlier tee times and were 32nd overall in relation to par when they concluded the round, but as other teams completed additional holes and eventually finished on both courses, the Bearcats gradually rose into 17th place.

Willamette, Guilford and Gettysburg will play together again in the second round on Wednesday, May 15 at Keene Run, with tee times between 12:50 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. (EDT), all on the first hole. The tee times will be three hours earlier on the West Coast (PDT).

The top 18 teams at the end of the second round will make the cut for the final two rounds on Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17. The top six individuals not on the advancing teams also will make the cut.

Sam Goldenring of Williams College (Mass.) topped the individual leaderboard after the first round with a 3-under-par 69 on the Keene Run course. Goldenring is competing as an individual. 

Four golfers were tied for second place with scores of 2-under-par 70. The tie included Drew Mathers from Huntingdon College (Pa.) and Mason Chiu of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) on the Champion Trace course, plus Drew Pershing from Illinois Wesleyan and Phillip Schmitz of Concordia (Texas) at Keene Run.

An additional seven competitors were tied for sixth place at 1-under 71, and seven golfers were tied for 13th place at even-par 72. Eleven golfers were tied for 20th at 73.

Kenneth Sheldon (Sr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS)

Big Moment of the Day for Willamette

Kenneth Sheldon earned back-to-back birdies on the
par-5 sixth hole and the par-3 seventh hole as Willamette
competed on the Champion Trace course. His 4 on the sixth
and 2 on the seventh helped him finish two holes later at 77
after starting the first round on the back nine.