by Jordanne Perry
The men’s and women’s golf teams traveled to Woodburn, Ore., where they finished off their season in the Northwest Conference Championships at OGA Golf Course. The men’s team tied for second place with Puget Sound and the women’s team took third with total team scores of 612 and 675, respectively.
Though neither of the teams will be continuing on to nationals, senior Jesse Salzwedel and freshman Michal Schuster took medalist honors in the overall player standings. Salzwedel was also named NWC Men’s Golfer of the Year.
“It’s a great way to end my four years at Whitworth,” Salzwedel said. “I’ve won tournaments in the past years but I’ve never won the championship. I’ve never been crowned as the Northwest Conference Champion and this is what I had been working for.”
Salzwedel led the men’s team by shooting matching rounds of 73 for a two over par total score of 146, which hurdled him from a third place tie in Saturday’s round to a first place finish to end his collegiate golf career.
“I went out this morning and said, ‘God, your will be done’ and if I play well, I play well,” Salzwedel said. “I just wanted to end my college career on a high note and God definitely answered, which I am so blessed and thankful for.”
By lowering his score by five strokes, sophomore Oliver Rudnicki jumped from 15th place to a three-way tie for eighth place with a score of 79-74—153.
“Playing in the bigger tournaments earlier this year really helped us a lot,” Rudnicki said. “I made sure to play my own game and take each shot one at a time.”
Senior Stephen Plopper (80-76—156) and sophomore teammate Austin Billeter (86-76—157) also finished the 6501-yard course in the top 20 where Plopper completed his final collegiate match in a three-way tie for 16th place while Billeter took 19th place overall.
The women, only eight strokes behind Whitman, maintained third place throughout the tournament.
Schuster held on tight to first place in the player standings both rounds to end with a final score of six over par 73-79—152.
“The last five holes are what really sealed the win for me,” Schuster said. “Right off the bat [on Sunday] I slipped down from my lead. I went into the round with a four-stroke lead over the girl in second place, but in the first five holes I gave up five strokes and lost the lead, but I was able to come back and it really came down to those last holes.”
Sophomore Chelsea Bayley improved her score by six strokes to finish in a three-way tie for 16th place with a score of 89-83—172.
“I started out really good [on Sunday],” Bayley said. “I hit good drives and I drained a 20-footer for a birdie and it was a great feeling after not playing so well yesterday. That birdie was definitely a momentum-bringer for me in the tournament.”
Sophomore Yvonne LaCoursiere (87-88—175) finished the championship tournament in a three-way tie for 22nd place, while teammate junior Nicole Lomax finished only one stroke behind.
With matching rounds of 88 for a score of 176, Lomax finished in 25th place and earned Second Team All-NWC honors for her second consecutive time.
“We went out there knowing what it would be like and tried to do our very best,” Schuster said. “I mean that is really all you can do and I am proud of the team.”
The Whitworth men and women’s golf teams will return to action next fall.