by Jordanne Perry
The windy weather did not stop the Whitworth men’s and women’s golf teams from taking first and second place, respectively, for the Northwest Conference Spring Classic in Kennewick, Wash., at Canyon Lakes Golf Course last weekend.
The men finished the match 42 strokes over par, totaling a team score of 618.
Senior Stephen Plopper lowered his score by one stroke on the second day with a 76-75—151 total, to finish in first place for the tournament.
“I think [the wind] was a little bit of an advantage for us, because it takes out half of the competition since a lot of the other players aren’t used to playing in conditions like that,” Plopper said. “It required a lot of good ball striking so that was frustrating, and that’s why I think the majority of the scores were so high, but it gave us more of an advantage especially since we were 12 strokes ahead after the first day as a team.”
Sophomore Oliver Rudnicki finished the tournament tied for second with a score of 72-81—153 while senior Jesse Salzwedel tied for fourth place in the player standings with a total of 76-78—154.
“We give all the credit to God,” Plopper said. “We get together and huddle before we go out for a tournament and pray for mental and physical strength, and at the end of the day we know that God is always with us, which is pretty calming in all honesty when you are out there on the course.”
The women’s team, also increasing its score on the second day, were able to maintain second place throughout the match to finish 114 strokes over par, totaling a score of 660, just 30 points behind George Fox University.
“I’m really proud of the team,” junior Nicole Lomax said. “Everyone worked their hardest and performed well given the crazy weather conditions. I know that we could have shot lower, but honestly, we did great.”
Lomax was the top finisher for the Pirates with a score of 82-85—167 and took fourth place in the overall player standings.
“I know that not every shot I take will be perfect,” Lomax said. “So I try to go out and focus on one shot at a time and I do feel as though I could’ve performed better but I am happy with how I did.”
Freshman Michal Schuster tied for seventh place with an 83-88—171 score, while her sophomore teammate Yvonne LaCoursiere shot an eagle on hole six on the final day. LaCoursiere finished the tournament with matching round scores of 87 to tie for 10th place with a total of 174.
“I didn’t hit a very good drive and I was on the left side of the fairway in some long grass,” LaCoursiere said. “I had 136 yards left to the flag so I decided to try and hit the ball a little bit lower out of the rough so the wind wouldn’t affect it as much, let land it short of the green and roll on. It did exactly what I wanted it to and just went in the hole, which was exciting.”
Both teams will compete at the Whitman Invitational on April 19 in Walla Walla.