Both Missionary golf teams place 5th at conference tournament

lindsayfairchild

This past weekend, both Whitman golf teams finished off their season by placing fifth in the Northwest Conference Championship tournament at Heron Lakes Golf Course in Portland, Ore. The fifth place finish was the best showing either team has had in recent memory.

The Missionary women started off strong on Saturday, April 24, ending the day in fourth place. The Missionaries’ triumvirate of first-year players led the way on Saturday, as they have all season. Tate Head led her fellow first-year players Saturday with a score of 81, finishing the day one stroke off the lead. First-year Caitlin Holland posted a score of 86, while first-year Sydney Conway shot an 89. Sophomore Portland native  Allie Lodine shot 98, playing in her hometown. They ended up placed fourth at the end of Saturday.

“We were very pleased with our performance,” said Skip Molitor, women’s head coach.”The 344 we shot as a team on day one was our best round of the season.”

On Sunday, April 25, Whitman fired a 349, their third best round of the season, but fell to fifth place as the University of Puget Sound Loggers leapfrogged them on the scoreboard thanks to a 17-stroke improvement on their first round score. The second day was not kind to Head as she fell from second to a tie for 11th after posting an 87. However, Head’s teammates picked up her slack on Sunday. Both Holland and Lodine dropped four shots off their first round scores, firing 82 and 94 respectively. Conway also improved her score from day one posting an 86.

Molitor had nothing but praise for his teams showing at the NWC Championships.

“To have two of our best three rounds of the year at the most important event of the year speaks very highly of our players and their ability to play their best at the most important time.” Molitor said. “It was a significant accomplishment to maintain our lead over Pacific University in the league standings.”

The Missionary women posted a team score of 693 for the weekend, placing them five points ahead of the Boxers in the Northwest Conference standings which are based on each team’s finish in the fall.

“There is a definite upswing in the women’s golf program. We are only losing two players and gaining three new recruits, and since the majority of the team is still young, the future looks promising,” said Conway.

Men’s golf also performed the best they had in years at the conference tournament placing fifth, holding the spot after coming into the tournament in a three-way tie for the spot.

Playing without their best player, junior Brian Barton, who is abroad in Scotland, senior Steve Campbell stepped up to the challenge in Portland firing a final day 75 for a two round total of 156, good enough for a eighth-place finish. Sophomore John Abercrombie fired a 79 and first-year Geoff Burks shot an 81, fellow first-year Peter Clark shot an 86 to round out the team scoring on Sunday. Sophomore David DeVine (91) and first-year Drew Raher (96) also played for Whitman.

The men’s scores were much higher than during the Fall Classic, also at Heron Lakes Golf Course, due to an altered course set up.

“The course was played differently than it had been in the fall,” Burks said. “They added a lot more yardage on every hole, making the course more difficult than it had previously been.”

Whitman finished just one shot ahead of Pacific Lutheran and seven shots ahead of George Fox to clinch fifth place after all three schools were were tied for fifth entering the NWC Championships.

Men’s Head Coach Peter McClure was pleased with his teams season.

“This was a really good year for the men’s golf team,” said McClure. “All year, our boys never gave up, they tried their best on every shot,  but more importantly they supported each other.”

Both of the golf teams show promise for the future with a good finish of this season.