Whitman Wire

Golf Teams Endure Elements in Fall Classic

Kyle Howe

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This past weekend, the Whitman men’s and women’s golf teams were hard at work at the Northwest Conference Fall Classic in Ridgefield, Wash.

The golfers battled rain, mud and wind throughout the tournament. The Fall Classic is the only tournament of the fall that counts towards the final NWC points standings for the 2012-13 season leaving this meet to set the precedent for the rest of the season in the spring.

The women’s team finished second in the tournament behind George Fox University, who is currently ranked fifth in the nation at the Division III level. This positioning places the team in a good range to compete for a spot in the national tournament. The first-place finisher in the NWC at the end of the spring season earns the conference’s automatic bid to Nationals.

The men’s team placed in a tie for fourth place with Linfield College, 26 strokes behind the run-away winner Whitworth University.

In addition to being the only point-garnering tournament of the fall, the NWC Fall Classic gives teams a look at the competition and where they stand with the rest of the conference heading into the spring.

For the men, they are competing well in an ever-improving conference. At the Fall Classic, Whitman was led by senior captain Geoff Burks, who scored a 4-under-par score of 68 on Sunday that placed him just short of medalist honors. Burks finished tied for tenth overall in a competitive field that saw just six strokes separating the third and tenth place finishers.

“The tournament went pretty well. We are scoring better now than we have in the past, but unfortunately the conference as a whole has been improving greatly,” said sophomore Scott Martin, who finished tied for seventeenth overall.

The fourth place finish for the men’s team places them within striking distance to win the division in the spring, and was an introduction to collegiate tournaments for the new players.

“This tournament puts us tied for fourth going into the spring season which means that we are definitely still in the running for being at the top after the year,” said Martin.

Unfortunately the poor weather hindered some of the players, especially those who are not accustomed to the weather in the Northwest.

“The weather was definitely a factor the first day and that is why our scores were a bit high the first day, but a lot of the team is from the northwest and used to the bad weather. The ones that are from places where it doesn’t rain as much are learning quickly how to deal with the wet [weather],” said Martin.

With the fall season at an end, the men’s team has high hope for the spring with more players joining the team in the spring.

“I think we had a successful fall season and with two players returning from being abroad in the spring, we will be very strong,” said Martin. Juniors Andrew Welch and Jonathan Standen will return to campus in the spring. The team will also be joined by seniors Peter Clark and Drew Raher, who will be activated once they finish their season with the Whitman basketball team.

The women’s team is coming off its great run last year in which they won the conference championship and made their first appearance in the NCAA Division III national tournament.

The team was led by sophomore Kelly Sweeney and junior Catelyn Webber, who posted scores of 77 and 78, respectively, on Sunday. Sweeney finished in fifth place, just two strokes out of the top three. Webber placed eighth, shooting 12 strokes better on day two than on day one.

Even after producing strong results, the team aspires to better themselves, and make a strong push for the national tournament in the spring.

“We had two good rounds Sunday, but we have an experienced and talented group that is capable of making things much more interesting in the spring,” said women’s head coach Skip Molitor via email. “This tournament was clearly not a case of us hitting on all cylinders.”

 

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Golf Teams Endure Elements in Fall Classic