KENNEWICK, Wash. – Linfield held off Whitworth to win the Northwest Conference men's golf tournament and Wildcat senior Alex Fitch earned medalist honors after the final round on Sunday at Canyon Lakes Golf Course.
With the team victory in the final league tournament, Linfield was able to secure the 2012 Northwest Conference championship in comfortable fashion. Based on an accumulated point total over the course of the fall and spring, the Wildcats finished with 31 points overall. Based on its runner-up finish this weekend, Whitworth jumped up to second place in the final team standings with 25 points, one point ahead of Puget Sound (24).
The final team scores of the NWC Tournament were: Linfield 293-303 – 596, Whitworth 298-301 – 599, Puget Sound 303-303 – 606, Pacific Lutheran 303-311 – 614, Pacific (Ore.) 311-312 – 623, Whitman 319-313 – 632, Willamette 314-320 – 634, George Fox 325-320 – 645, Lewis & Clark 376-364 – 740.
Fitch followed up his round of 68 on Saturday with a 74 on Sunday to finish with a final of two-under 142. He was the only player to finish his tournament under par. Nick Kelly of Puget Sound rallied to a runner-up finish with his total of 73-73 – 147. Dustin Hegge totaled 69-79 – 148 to finish third.
However, based on top-three finishes at all of the three major Northwest Conference tournaments throughout the year, Hegge earned NWC Player of the Year honors.
Hegge is joined on the All-NWC First Team by Fitch, Jesse Salzwedel (Whitworth), Kelly, Scott Martin (Whitman) and Taylor Kopp (Linfield).
Whitworth had the day's best team score, thanks in part to junior Christian Boudreau who fired a 72 on Sunday for the best score of the second round. The Pirates had four players among the top 11 golfers. Saul Martinez (74-75 – 149) finished tied for fourth, while Joey DeGroff (73-77 – 150) finished tied for 11th. Salzwedel, who was the 2012 NWC Spring Classic medalist, finished ninth with a score of 74-77 – 151. Boudreau (81-72 – 153) finished tied for 11th. Stephen Plopper (77-78 – 155) rounded out the Pirate players in a tie for 17th place.
Both Martinez and DeGroff earned Second Team All-NWC honors.
Linfield earns the NWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament for the second year in a row. The final NWC team standings:
(Listed by point total)
31 – Linfield
25 – Whitworth
24 – Puget Sound
19 (tie) – Whitman
19 (tie) – Pacific Lutheran
10 – Pacific (Ore.)
8 (tie) – George Fox
8 (tie) – Willamette
0 – Lewis & Clark