Written by Student Assistant Carson Barnett
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University men's golf team is preparing for its final tournament for the fall season, competing at the Northwest Conference Fall Classic in Banks, Oregon on Saturday and Sunday. The 36-hole event, the first of three events used to decide the NWC champion, will be contested at the Quail Valley Golf Course.
The Lutes placed second overall two weekends ago at the eight-team Whitworth Invitational. They showed off the depth they have with three student-athletes placing in the top ten at the tournament while all five Lutes placing in the top 16.
First-year Austin Darnell and senior Mitchell Baldridge tied for third overall, shooting a three-over 147. First year Jordan Brajcich was the third Lute to crack the top 10, finishing ninth with a 150 while Luke Hall and Ryan Pearson rounded out the Lute contingent, finishing 11th (151) and 16th (155), respectively.
Senior Mitchell Baldridge has had an excellent start to his final season with the Lutes placing in the top three in every tournament thus far, winning the UPS Invitational on Sept. 24 while finishing runner-up at the season-opening Collegiate Open on Sept. 18. The defending Northwest Conference Player of the Year will look to showcase his talents once again on the course this weekend.
"The competition this year has increased a lot since last year and it takes much better play to win a tournament," said Baldridge. "We need to work hard this week on our short game and putting to win. Scores will be low at this course and our team is very capable if we set our minds to it and work hard as a team. This is the last tournament of the fall and I know how important it is going into the spring to be leading the conference. We need to win this weekend to make that happen."
This weekend's tournament makes up 25 percent of the scoring in determining the Northwest Conference Champion. The NWC Spring Classic counts for an additional 25 percent with the remaining 50 percent decided by the Northwest Conference Tournament. Last season, the Lutes won both the NWC Fall and Spring Classics and placed runner-up at the NWC Tournament to win the NWC Championship and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Round one begins this Saturday at Quail Valley Golf Course followed by round two on Sunday.