Left: WWU's Brody Bonfilio holds the 36-hole lead at the GNAC Championships. Right: The first-round scorecard for the Vikings with Lacy Sheldon leading the tournament at 2-over-par. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
GNAC Golf Championships: WWU Men 1st, Women 2nd After Day 1
April 22, 2019
WWU MEN IN FIRST PLACE AFTER FIRST DAY OF GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS
COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho – The No. 4 nationally-ranked Western Washington University men’s golf team entered the postseason on a roll, and showed no signs of slowing down after a solid first day at the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships on the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.
The Vikings shot consecutive rounds of even-par 284 on the par 71 layout, and carry a nine-stroke lead into Tuesday’s final round of the 54-hole conference tournament. WWU is looking for its ninth GNAC Championship in the 12-year history of the event. Concordia (+9, 577) is nine strokes back of the Vikings and Simon Fraser (+11, 579) is in 3rd place in the six-team field.
“The guys hung in there all day, coming back from a tough start,” said head coach Luke Bennett. “They all regrouped and trusted their abilities. The just never give up.”
Idaho native Brody Bonfilio (Boise, ID/Bishop Kelly) put together back-to-back solid rounds to finish the first two rounds at 4-under-par 138, firing a 4-under-par 67 in the morning and coming home with an even-par 71. The sophomore was a late sub to the Vikings lineup after senior Michael Butler came down with an illness. The 2018 GNAC Freshman of the Year carded nine birdies in the first 36 holes to tie for the tournament lead.
“Brody was rock-solid in the morning round and showed great mental toughness this afternoon,” added Bennett. “I am very proud of how he played today and how he remained ready for this moment.”
Bonfilio will open the final round with a three-stroke lead over Saint Martin’s Tyler Fitchett and Concordia’s Jake Wiley. He is looking to add his name to a lengthy list of Vikings that have won the GNAC title, with seven WWU players winning individual medalist honors since the first event in 2008.
Senior Cody Roth (Bellingham, WA) is in 4th place in the 30-game field with a 36-hole total of 1-over-par 143 (73-70). After a tough start to his day playing the first nine holes at 4-over-par, Roth played the remaining 27 holes at 3-under-par.
“It was great to see Cody fight back after a tough start to his day,” said Bennett.
Freshman Jordan Lee (Tacoma, WA/Bellarmine Prep) and junior Ethan Casto (Snohomish, WA) are tied for 10th place at 3-over-par 145. Casto is the defending individual champion of the championships. Senior Nick Sparling (Dublin, OH/Dublin Coffman) is tied for 16th place (+6, 71-77=148).
WWU built its lead with strong back nine performances in each of the first two rounds on Monday, with the five team member shooting a combined 7-under-par on holes 10-18 in the morning round and 4-under-par in the afternoon.
The final round of the tournament begins at 7:30 am, with the Vikings teeing off the 10th tee starting at 8:25 am. The 2019 GNAC Men’s Golf Championships can be followed via the live leaderboard online at WWUVikings.com/MG_Live.
STRONG FINISH TO FIRST ROUND
The Vikings got off to a sluggish start, making the turn at 5-over-par in the first round, trailing Simon Fraser at the time by 10 strokes. But WWU kicked it into high gear over the final nine holes of the first round, with the team playing the back nine at 7-under-par (-5 for counting scores). The strong finish to the first round moved the Vikings up to first place after the first 18 holes with a team score of even-par 284, a one-stroke advantage over SFU and Saint Martin’s.
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VIKING WOMEN IN 2ND PLACE AFTER FIRST ROUND AT
GNAC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS
COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho – Western Washington University junior Lacy Sheldon is leading the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships and the Vikings are in 2nd place after the first round of play at Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.
WWU shot a first-round team score of 31-over-par 315, trailing tournament leader Concordia (+27, 311) by four strokes heading into Tuesday’s final round. The Vikings are four shots up on third-place Simon Fraser (+35, 319).
Sheldon is playing in her first GNAC Championships after transferring from Montevallo for her junior season. The Dallas, Texas native shot a 1-over-par 73, recording three birdies and 11 pars. Sheldon was 1-under-par through the first 16 holes, but played the final two holes at 3-over-par. She will take a 1-stroke lead into the final round, with Concordia’s Shantel Antonio at 3-over-par 74.
Senior Hannah Drake is tied for 5th out of the 29 players that completed play on Monday, firing a 8-over-par 79 in the opening round. Drake, playing in her fourth GNAC Championships, led all players playing the four par 5 holes at 1-under par.
Sophomore Katelann Soth is also in the top 10 with a first-round score of 9-over-par 80 on the 5,914-yard par 71 layout. Soth led all players during the first day of the tournament with four birdies.
Sophomores Megan Billeter and Sarah Shea are tied for 16th place turning in matching 12-over-par 83.
The final round concludes Tuesday with tee times beginning at 7:30 am. The Vikings will begin teeing off at 8:55 am, with Sheldon teeing off last at 9:39 am. Results from the GNAC Championships can be tracked at WWUVikings.com/WG_Live.