by Max Carter
After a career-best round of four-under par 68 on Saturday at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, senior Austin Billeter followed with a solid two-over par round of 74 on Sunday to finish in sole possession of third place. Billeter’s performance gave him sole possession of first-place after day one, and helped lead the Whitworth men to a second place team finish, falling short of Willamette by only one stroke.
In addition to the good showing by the men’s team, the women had a solid fourth place finish, largely in thanks to an opening round of four-over par 76 from senior Chelsea Bayley. Junior Michal Schuster closed out the weekend well, carding a five-over par 77 for the women on Sunday, the Bucs’ only sub-80 round on day two.
For the men, senior Andrew Dodge fired a bogey free five-under par 67 for the low round of the day Sunday, bolstering the strong Sunday efforts from Billeter and senior Oliver Rudnicki, who carded a round of one-under par 71 on day 2. According to head golf coach Warren Friedrichs, the competition is strong this season and the Northwest Conference Championship in Sunriver, Oregon will be a true test.
“We knew it would be close, Willamette is tough this year,” Friedrichs said. “Crosswater will test all phases of your game. It’s a really good course, but we’ll have to be on top of our game.”
Before the Pirates head to Sunriver, Oregon for the NWC Tournament, they will first try and get some hardware in Bend, Oregon at the Willamette Spring Thaw. That will be a big tournament for the men, who are looking to establish their dominance over their close rivals–and the hosts of the tournament–the Willamette Bearcats.
As it stands, the men’s team is tied with Willamette for first place in the Northwest Conference. As far as conference points go, the only remaining event is the NWC Tournament at Crosswater Golf Club. Both Willamette and Whitworth sit at the top with 15 points.