Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
CRESWELL, Ore. - An unbelievable opening round set the stage for another tournament victory for the Pacific Lutheran University men's golf team on Sunday as the Lutes captured the Northwest Conference Fall Classic at the Emerald Valley Golf Resort.
The Lutes opened a 16-stroke lead on the nine-team field after day one, carding a 287 on Saturday before collecting a 302 on Sunday, finishing the two-day event with a 589, outdistancing runner-up Willamette University by 16 strokes as the Bearcats tallied a 605 (305-300). The win gives PLU a leg up on the rest of the NWC in the race for the conference championship with the results of the Fall Classic accounting for 25 percent of the criteria used to name the NWC Champion. The NWC Spring Classic accounts for 25 percent while the NWC Championships in April account for the remaining 50 percent in naming a league champion.
"This weekend was a big step forward for our program," said Head Coach Kris Swanson. "We have put great practice habits and pre-round processes in place to help us succeed and be prepared to play our best. The men have stuck to the process and their attitudes are great. They want to play well and this was a great tournament."
Kyle Drugge led the way for the Lutes, finishing second overall after getting edged in a one-hole playoff for medalist honors. Drugge was red-hot on Saturday, shooting a two-under 70 on Saturday before collecting a 76 on Sunday, tying Willamette's Trent Jones with a 146. Jones took first overall after carding a par on the first playoff hole, edging Drugge by a stroke.
Mitchell Baldridge finished one stroke back in third place, shooting a 76 on Saturday before carving off five strokes on day two, finishing with a 147 for the tournament. Ryan Sturdivan tied for fourth, netting a 148 (70-78), while Alex Nelson (72-79) and Thomas Huddleston (75-77) placed seventh and ninth, respectively, to round out the Lute contingent at the Fall Classic.
"I'm so happy for them. They stayed in compete control and really stuck to our plan."
Sunday's win was the second of the season for the Lutes with PLU prevailing at the season-opening Lutes Invitational back on Sept. 19.
Pacific Lutheran closes out the fall portion of the season at the Whitworth Invitational on Oct. 22-23 at Gamble Sands Golf Course in Brewster, Washington.