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October 21, 2011

First of Three NWC "Majors" Next for Lutes

THIS WEEKEND: Pacific Lutheran competes in the NWC Fall Classic, Saturday and Sunday, Heron Lakes Golf Club in Portland, Ore.

MAJOR NO. 1: The first of the Northwest Conference's three "major" tournaments, the NWC Fall Classic, will be held this Saturday and Sunday at Heron Lakes Golf Course in Portland, Ore. This weekend's Fall Classic and the NWC Spring Classic, which scheduled for April 7-8 in Walla Walla, Wash., both count 25 percent toward the overall conference championship. The NWC Championships, which will be played April 14-15 in Kennewick, Wash., counts the other 50 percent, with the overall Northwest Conference champion earning the NWC's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III national tournament.

TEEING IT UP ON THE GREAT BLUE COURSE: The men's tournament gets underway at 11 a.m. and will be held on the Great Blue Course at Heron Lakes. The teams will go off in waves - Linfield, Whitworth and Puget Sound in the first wave, Whitman, Pacific and George Fox in the second wave, and PLU, Willamette and Lewis & Clark in the third wave. That means that the Lutes will not start until No. 1 player, sophomore Dustin Hegge, tees off at 12:40 p.m. Other PLU entrants are junior Auston Hilkin, freshman Tim Livermore, senior Daron Casey, and junior Alex Liljestrom.

2010 FALL CLASSIC RESULTS: Puget Sound won the team title and Pacific's Max Bonk was medalist at the 2010 NWC Fall Classic held at Juniper Golf Club in Redmond, Ore. UPS won the team title by seven strokes with scores of 320 and 312 for a two-round total of 632. Pacific was second with 639, and Pacific Lutheran was in sixth with a two-round score of 663 (340-323). Dustin Hegge finished 11th overall, carding 83-79 - 162, two strokes better than teammate Brandon Peterson's 86-78 - 164. Rounding out the scores for PLU were Scott Zhang 170, Daron Casey and Zack Kitchen 171, and Auston Hilkin 177.

LUTES IN THE FALL: The Lutes have had mixed results in three fall tournaments. Led by Dustin Hegge, they defeated Puget Sound, 304-312, in a season-opening dual held Sept. 18 at Fort Lewis Golf Club. At the Saint Martin's Invitational played Sept. 26-27, the Lutes shot a second-day 300 for a two-round total of 634 to finish 14th out of 15 teams. Auston Hilkin led the Lutes with 79-74 - 153. Finally, at the Whitworth Invitational played Oct. 2-3 at Spokane Country Club, Hegge won medalist honors with a 68-74 - 142, two strokes under par. Whitworth won the team title with a two-round score of 587, 11-over-par on the 6,653-yard, par 72 layout. PLU finished fourth with a 602, carding rounds of 297 and 305.

HEGGE IS HOT: By winning the Whitworth Invitational, Dustin Hegge became the first Pacific Lutheran male golfer to take medalist honors at an invitational since Chris Packard won the UPS Invitational title at Fircrest Golf Club in March of 2008. During that same split season, Packard was also medalist at the Northwest Conference Fall Classic played in October 2007. Hegge earned Northwest Conference Student Athlete of the Week honors as a result, and also became the first PLU golfer so honored by the conference since Packard way back in March 2008.

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