Bucs start strong at Whitman Invitational

Pirates lead conference foes after first day of play in Walla Walla, Wash.

by Connor Soudani

The Whitworth men’s golf team played an admirable first day of competition at the Whitman Invitational last weekend in Walla Walla.  The Pirates were sitting very comfortably after Sunday with impressive performances from emerging freshmen.

After the first day of play, freshmen Lyle Rudnicki (69), Oliver Rudnicki (70), Samson Martinez (73) and Stephen Thoen (77) proved that they will carry a significant role for the team this season.  Junior Stephen Plopper also finished with a 75 while fellow junior Joey DeGroff shot a 79.  The team shot 287 as a team for the day, in first place ahead of seven other conference teams.

Whitworth was the only team with a score under par after the first round, shooting one under par.

“I can’t remember the last time we did this,” head coach Warren Friedrichs said about his team’s performance.

The men led their closest competitor, Pacific Lutheran University, by five strokes after the first day of competition.

“Those three rounds at Avondale (North Idaho Invitational) last week were important in sorting out our strongest players.  It allowed us to put a strong team together this week.  It was really just a great day,” Friedrichs said.

Freshmen twins Lyle and Oliver Rudnicki have been leading the charge as of late for the Pirates.  Without the availability of junior Jesse Salzwedel recently due to personal reasons, there is reason to feel good about the men’s chances as the season progresses.

“I’ve played in a lot of college tournaments already but I still get pretty nervous out there,” Lyle Rudnicki said. “The guys make you feel comfortable though.”

His brother Oliver expressed similar feelings.

“As we keep practicing and playing together, we’ll get more accustomed to it,” Oliver Rudnicki said.  “These practices will also keep us on track to be consistent as the season goes on.”

Due to Whitworthian press deadlines, coverage of the tournament conclusion on Monday was unavailable for print in this issue.  Check online at thewhitworthian.com for extended coverage and results of the tournament.

The men’s team will play next on Oct. 14-15 at the PLU Invitational in University Place, Wash.


Whitworth men’s golf concluded one of its best tournaments of the season this past weekend.  After playing a strong round on Sunday, the freshmen-led team left their mark on day two to finish first overall in the tournament.

Freshman Lyle Rudnicki continued his strong performance from Sunday by shooting another 69 on Monday, winning the tournament as an individual.  Freshman Oliver Rudnicki also had a notable performance shooting a 75 to follow his score of 70 on Sunday.  The rest of the team shot well, with each player shooting nothing higher than a 79.  Freshman Samson Martinez (73, 73), junior Stephen Plopper shot (75, 73) freshman Stephen Thoen (77, 74)  and junior Joey DeGroff  (79, 75) rounded out the scoring for the Pirates.

“Being consistent both days made me really pleased,” head coach Warren Friedrichs said.  “The team atmosphere is good despite the stress in qualifying for tournaments.”

Friedrichs proceeded to say that he would like to see similar or better results at the next tournament with junior Jesse Salzwedel, a 2011 First Team All-NWC selection, returning to competition.

The Pirates will compete next on Oct. 14-15 at the PLU Invitational in University Place, Wash.

Contact Connor Soudani at csoudani16@my.whitworth.edu.

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