by Henry Miller | Staff Writer
After the second round of NWC tournament in Lakewood, Washington, the Pirates golf team had tallied the lowest score of the day. This would move the Pirates into second place, but it wouldn’t be enough to pull the Pirates past Pacific Lutheran University who finished in first. PLU finished with a team score of 581 while Whitworth finished at 595. Sam Stiles, ‘20, shot an even par 71 on Sunday to tally a total score of 147. Stiles finished in an individual four-way tie for sixth place.
The Pirates had a rough start to the tournament and were looking to get past Willamette.
“We kind of dug ourselves into a hole after the first day. We knew we were down nine shots to Willamette,” said Reilly Hegarty, ‘20.
With Willamette in range of being overtaken, the bucs turned to their head coach for strategy.
”Try and beat the Willamette player in you group by two and a half shots and we will pull ahead of them,” said Coach Scott Kramer. The team was focused on keeping track of the Willamette players score and this would drive them to beat the Willamette golfers.
The weather on day one of the tournament was not the most favorable.
“It was really windy the first day, pretty cold through the first nine hole,” said Hegarty. The Bucs were down fifteen shots after the first day which was a difficult gap to overcome. The Bucs recovered to card a final NWC score of 26 points. PLU finished in first with 30.
“They had a really good first day considering the conditions, all credit to them, they went out and shot a really good score the first day, said Hegarty”
Willamette’s golf team had finished in first place at the fall classic but placed fifth at the Spring Classic. They finished third overall in NWC standings. One of Willamette’s best golfers, Nathan Phelan, had transferred to WSU in the middle of this season. Another factor was Trent Jones of Willamette, who during the Fall Classic was one of the best division 3 golfers in the country, was in a slump at the time of the NWC tournament.
Whitworth finished in the top five of most of their tournaments this year and has a relatively young roster. With a talented young crew of golfers, Whitworth is looking to take the NWC trophy from PLU next year.
“We can continue to develop and continue to push each other because of how close of a team we are. We are looking to go out and prove how good we are to everyone. It’s not often you get a group of sophomores with the tournament experience of seniors, said Hegarty.”
Pirate golfers Sam Stiles and Keegan Loo, ‘20, were both honored as second team all-NWC. Stiles was a first team honoree last year and averaged a score of 76.9 this season. Loo was a second team honoree this year and averaged a score of 78.3.