The Vikings won the 47th Annual WWU Invitational and the Pacific Northwest Champions Cup. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Vikings Win WWU Invitational For Second Straight Victory
September 26, 2018
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Western Washington University men’s golf team added two more trophies to its collection, coming from behind to win the 47th Annual WWU Invitational played Monday and Tuesday at Bellingham Golf & Country Club.
The Vikings started the day three strokes back of Chico State, but moved ahead of the Wildcats in the final round to win the home event for the first time since 2012. WWU improved each round of the 54-hole tournament, moving from third place after the first round (+1 289), to second place through 36 holes (-1 287) and then leapfrogged into the top spot with a 3-under-par 285 today.
“It was an outstanding team performance, improving each round, and keeping focused when things got tight near the end against a very tough field of competitors,” said head coach Luke Bennett. “The guys were solid and everybody contributed from the first hole through the 54th hole.”
WWU has won both of its tournaments this season, winning the Saint Martin’s Invitational over the weekend by a 17-stroke margin. The pair of victories also earned the Vikings the first Pacific Northwest Champions Cup, a new award that recognized the low-scoring team of the 14 schools that competed in both the SMU and WWU Invitational.
“What a great start for a group that has big goals for the team,” added Bennett. “The guys reported back to campus not only ready to play, but ready to play at a high level, and that showed winning back-to-back tournaments. I think this will motivate us moving forward to get even better, practice harder and keep improving where we need to improve.”
The University of British Columbia and Cal State East Bay tied for third place in the 20-team field, with CSUEB turning in the low team round of the tournament with an 11-under-par 277 in Tuesday’s final round.
Chico State’s Josh McCollum earned individual medalist honors finishing at 9-under-par 207, a two-stroke victory over UBC’s Andrew Harrison (-7, 209).
The Vikings had three players earn top-10 finishes, and all five players were in the top 30 of the 104-player field.
Senior Cody Roth (Bellingham, WA) fired a 3-under-par 69 in the final round to move up to fourth place, finishing at 4-under-par 212 for the tournament. Roth finished the tournament with 13 birdies, tied for fourth-most in the field. With four rounds of par or better to start the season, Roth also earned the individual Pacific Northwest Champions Cup with a combined score of 423 (-9) in the two tournaments.
“Cody is off to a rock-solid start…just very consistent and steady,” said Bennett on his senior co-captain. “He had a great summer and he is determined to make his senior year memorable.”
Freshman Jordan Lee (Tacoma, WA/Bellarmine Prep) tied for 5th in the tournament at 2-under-par 214, firing a 1-over-par 73 in the final round. With the battle between WWU and Chico State going down to the wire, Lee closed out the tournament with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 18th hole to seal the victory for the Vikings.
“Jordan is off to a pretty good start in his college career…two tournaments and two wins,” added Bennett. “He has been a great addition to the program, not only on the course, but with the team. Lucky to have him as a Viking.”
Senior Nick Sparling (Dublin, OH/Dublin Coffman/Ohio State) moved up from 16th place into the top 10 to tie for ninth at 1-over-par 217. Sparling opened his final round with a bogey, but was nearly flawless from that point on with a pair of birdies and 15 pars over the final 17 holes.
Senior co-captain Michael Butler (Sammamish, WA/Skyline) tied for 21st at 5-over-par 221, with his final-round even-par 72 playing a key role helping secure the team victory. Junior Ethan Casto (Snohomish, WA) tied for 30th at 6-over-par finishing with a 1-over-par 73.
“Our drop score today was 1-over-par…when you have that it means that the team is all moving in the same direction and feeding off each other on the course. There were moments when each of the five dug deep and had to come up clutch,” said Bennett. “It is very early in the season, but I love what I see out of the guys and very proud of them for how they conducted themselves on the course and with their leadership during the two wins.”
The Vikings are scheduled to return to action in two weeks at the Concordia Invitational that will be played Oct. 8-9 at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Oregon. The complete fall and spring schedule, as well as historical information on the program, can be viewed at WWUVikings.com/MGolf.