WWU's Ethan Casto won medalist honors at the Mustang Intercollegiate with a 54-hole total of 15-under-par 201. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Vikings Finish 2nd, Casto Medalist Honors at Mustang Intercollegiate
April 10, 2019
GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Led by individual champion Ethan Casto, the Western Washington University men’s golf team closed out the 2018-19 regular season with another solid performance, placing second out of 23 teams at the Mustang Intercollegiate that concluded Tuesday afternoon at Palm Valley Golf Club.
The No. 6 nationally-ranked Vikings turned in a final-round team score of 7-under-par 281, adding to the first-round score of 281 and second-round tally of 280, for a 54-hole tournament total of 22-under-par 842. WWU’s final round of 7-under-par 281 was tied for 3rd-lowest among the 23 teams in the field.
Western finished two strokes back of tournament champion Colorado School of Mines, which completed the three-round tournament at 24-under-par 840. The Vikings were two strokes in front of West Region rival Chico State (-20, 844). Colorado-Colorado Springs (-17, 847) and Ottawa University-AZ (-16, 848) rounded out the top five.
“The guys did exactly what was needed to do today, they got off to a hot start and got right back in the fight,” said head coach Luke Bennett. “We had a little trouble down the stretch, but all-in-all it was another great team effort to complete the regular season leading up to the conference championships.”
Casto, a junior out of Snohomish, led the 54-hole tournament wire-to-wire for his second career tournament victory, adding to his medalist honors at last year’s GNAC Championships. Casto recorded a 2-stroke victory finishing at 15-under-par 201 with rounds of 65 (-7), 67 (-5) and 69 (-3).
Casto’s tournament total is the second-lowest 54-hole score by a Viking during the Golfstat era (since 1993-94), trailing only a 200 (-16) by All-American Jake Koppenberg in 2007 at the Grand Canyon Fall Invitational on Estrella Mountain Ranch Golf Course. It is the lowest 54-hole score ever shot by a GNAC golfer during the spring season (Previous: 205, Bret Thompson, SFU, 2015 GNAC Championships) and is the second-lowest in GNAC behind Koppenberg’s performance in 2007.
“Ethan was so solid in all three rounds and I am so proud of him,” added Bennett. “He has had a phenomenal last four rounds at Palm Valley if you go back to last year’s final round where he shot 64. Every aspect of Ethan’s game was on this week.”
Casto is the second WWU player to record a tournament win this season, joining freshman Jordan Lee at the Concordia Invitational (Oct. 8-9, 2018).
Freshman Jordan Lee put together another solid tournament performance tying for 25th at 2-under-par 214, stringing together rounds of 71-72-71. Senior Michael Butler carded a final-round 3-under-par 69, including a pair of eagles, to move up to finish in a tie for 42nd place in the 120-player field at even-par 216.
Seniors Nick Sparling (T54th, +1, 73-70-74) and Cody Roth (74th, +4, 72-76-72) rounded out the Vikings contingent.
Casto recorded a two-stroke victory over Colorado-Colorado Springs’ Jack Duguid, who turned in three consecutive rounds in the 60s to finish at 13-under-par 203. Chico State’s Josh McCollum finished in 3rd place at 12-under-par 204.
DIGGING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS
WWU’s team score of 22-under-par 842 enters the record books as the second-best 54-hole tournament performance in program history trailing only a 28-under-par 836 in 2005 at the Family Motors Invitational hosted by Cal State Bakersfield at Seven Oaks Golf and Country Club (Feb. 28-March 1, 2005). Current head coach Luke Bennett was the individual medalist in the tournament at 14-under-par during his junior season at WWU.
GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS UP NEXT
The Vikings will now turn their attention to the GNAC Championships that will be played April 22-23 at Coeur d’Alene Golf Resort in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. WWU seven of the 11 GNAC Championships since the event started in 2008 and this season will feature the first time the team champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA II West/South Central Super Regional. WWU has advanced to the NCAA Regional Championships in each of the 20 seasons competing at the NCAA level dating back to 1998-99.
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