Pacific Lutheran chosen as men’s golf favorite in NWC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Pacific Lutheran chosen as men’s golf favorite in NWC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

 

Rk.

Team

Pts.

2017-18 NWC Finish

1

Pacific Lutheran

63 (7)

1st

2

Whitworth

55 (2)

2nd

3

George Fox

48

4th

4

Willamette

47

3rd

5

Linfield

35

5th

6

Puget Sound

28

6th

7

Pacific (Ore.)

19

8th

8

Whitman

18

7th

9

Lewis & Clark

11

9th

(Points awarded on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches could not vote for their own teams; numbers in parentheses indicate first place votes.) 

HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Pacific Lutheran Lutes men's golf team has been selected as the top contender in the Northwest Conference for the 2018-19 season, as voted on by conference coaches.

The Lutes raked in 63 points with seven first-place votes. In the 2017-18 season, the team claimed third at the NWC Fall Classic behind Willamette and George Fox, who took first and second place, respectively. The Lutes triumphed in the spring season to take first at the NWC Spring Classic with 598 points, and at the NWC Championship with 581, finishing first in NWC final standings and earning the automatic bid to the NCAA Championship at Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.

At the NCAA Championship, the Lutes had a program-best finish in 16th place with NWC Freshman of the Year Austin Darnell (Mount Vernon, Wash.) taking home 24th place overall. The team finished the season ranked seventh regionally and enters the 2018-19 season receiving 20 votes in the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) preseason poll. Among four Lutes that earned 2017-18 All-NWC accolades, Darnell, as well as teammates Jordan Brajcich (Mill Creek, Wash.) and Luke Hall (Newcastle, Wash) return for the 2018-19 season. Having lost only one senior and returning an entire roster of veterans, the team enters the 2018-19 season poised to claim a third consecutive NWC title under head coach Kris Swanson.

The Whitworth Pirates claim second place in the poll with 55 points and two first-place votes. The Pirates placed fourth at the NWC Fall Classic before taking home two second-place finishes, first at the NWC Spring Classic with 600 points, then at the NWC Championship with 595. Keegan Loo (Lihue, Hawaii) was the individual winner at the NWC Spring Classic, having shot back-to-back rounds of 71, finishing with a final score of 142. Loo and teammate Sam Stiles (Colbert, Wash.) both earned a spot on the All-NWC Second Team as the team finished with a second-place rank in final conference standings. Loo and Stiles return for the 2018-19 season to lead the Pirates to another successful season.

George Fox earns 48 points in the poll to take third place. At the 2017 NWC Fall Classic, the Bruins took home second place with a total score of 576 and three top-10 individual finishes. The Bruins took home third at the NWC Spring Classic with a 603 – just three strokes behind second-place Whitworth and five behind first-place Pacific Lutheran. At the NWC Championship, the team took fifth place with a 609. Alex Plusquellec (Damascus, Ore.) finished second individually at both the NWC Spring Classic and NWC Championship. Plusquellec was named All-NWC Player of the Year and took home All-NWC First Team honors alongside teammate Mason Koch (Auburn, Wash.). Koch returns in the 2018-19 season to head the Bruins.

The Willamette Bearcats take fourth in the poll just one point behind George Fox with 47. The Bearcats took home first place with a score of 562 at the NWC Fall Classic. Trent Jones (Kenmore, Wash.) was the individual medalist, finishing with a 66-70=136. The team dropped several spots at the NWC Spring Classic, finishing in fifth place with a 638. Sam Hinton (Seaside, Ore.) led the Bearcats with an 8th place individual finish. The team battled back for a third-place finish at the NWC Championship, finishing with a 596 and a first-place individual finish by Hinton. Hinton earned All-NWC First Team honors, while teammates Jones, Benjamin Graham (Renton, Wash.), and Kenneth Sheldon (Ocean Park, Wash.) earned All-NWC Second Team nods. Three of the NWC honorees - Hinton, Jones and Sheldon - return for the 2018-19 season with the Bearcats. 

Linfield earned a total of 35 points to place fifth in the poll. The Wildcats finished in fifth place at the NWC Fall Classic with a 594, followed by two fourth-place finishes at the NWC Spring Classic and NWC Championship with a 612 and 601, respectively. Lucas Balala (University Place, Wash.) finished within the top-15 individually at all three NWC tournaments, while teammate Logan Davis tied for sixth at the Spring Classic with a 149. Balala was named to the All-NWC First Team. The Wildcats enter the 2018-19 season eager to build upon their 2018 fifth-place finish under head coach Mitch Wilson in his first year.

Puget Sound takes sixth place with a total of 28 points. The Loggers finished sixth in NWC final standings, having took home sixth place in both the NWC Fall and Spring Classics, and seventh at the NWC Championship. Mac Turner (Minneapolis, Minn.) earned All-NWC Second Team honors, and will return to guide the Loggers in the 2018-19 season.

Pacific (Ore.) finishes in seventh place with 19 points. The Boxers finished seventh at both the NWC Fall and Spring Classics and took eighth at the NWC Championship to round out the season in eighth-place in final conference standings.

The Whitman Blues take eighth place with 18 points. The team finished the 2017-18 season ranked seventh in final conference standings after finishing in eighth at both the NWC Fall and Spring Classics and moving up two spots at the NWC Championship to take home sixth. The Blues return a seasoned team for the 2018-19 season with only one first-year student-athlete.

Lewis & Clark finishes in ninth place with 11 points. The Pioneers placed ninth in NWC final standings after having finished in ninth at all three NWC tournaments throughout the 2017-18 year. The team returns a roster of veterans in the 2018-19 season, led by senior Jacob Bell.

The Fall 2018 season begins this weekend with all nine NWC teams competing. George Fox will travel to Olivas Links Golf Course in Ventura, Calif. for the California Lutheran Invite, while all other NWC teams will compete in the Pacific Lutheran Invitational at The Hole Course in DuPont, Wash.