Golf teams take second and fourth at NWC Tournament

The Whitworth men’s and women’s golf teams both competed in the Northwest Conference tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The men ended in second place and the women in fourth at the end of the first day. The second day ended with the men taking second in the tournament, but due to positioning established beforehand, ending with a first-place ranking in the conference. The women finished in third, placing them in third for conference. Willamette led at the end of the first day on the men’s side with Whitworth and Pacific Lutheran tied for second place. Willamette’s first place golfer for the day was Clark Wilson, with a score of 71. Juniors Samson Martinez and Oliver Rudnicki of Whitworth trailed with a score of 77, tying with two other golfers for fourth place. The overall standings of the match placed them in second for the day- a goal they needed to achieve in order to reach the coveted NWC title. The final tallies for the day saw Willamette at 299, Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth at 315, and George Fox at 317.

“Finishing well at conference and going to Nationals is our goal every year,” head golf coach Warren Friedrichs said of the weekend. “Which, of course, is difficult, as we end up playing until finals week.”

The next day, the men managed to successfully hold their position through the tournament, finishing in second place and claiming the 2014-2015 Conference title. The points from the Spring Classic added to their score posted from the the most recent tournament, elevating them from second place over Willamette, who won the NWC tournament overall. Martinez finished tied for sixth place after shooting a 152 cumulative score. Junior Andrew Dodge finished in eighth place with a 153- hitting a 73 for the second day. Rudnicki ended up finishing 16th with a 158. Whitworth’s totalled 618, trailing Willamette’s 613, but pulling ahead of Linfield’s 621 and George Fox’s 624. Willamette was outshot by the Pirates at the Spring Classic earlier this season, which resulted in the Bucs claiming the conference title.

“Making it to nationals was definitely our motivation,” Martinez. “We want to put Whitworth on the map. I am so excited to represent Whitworth at nationals and hope everyone knows this win was for the Whitworth community.”

On the women’s side of things, the team finished the first day in fourth, shooting a score of 335, with Whitman’s 333, Pacific Lutheran’s 325, and George Fox’s 319 all leading. Paige Henry of Pacific Lutheran led the individual scoring of the day, but Whitworth senior Nicole Lomax managed to tie for second with George Fox’s Loreece Magsanide, both boasting scores of 77. Other notables included sophomore Michal Schuster tying for 12th with a score of 83 as well as junior Yvonne LaCoursiere and freshman Katie Ochoa tying for 25th with scores of 90.

The second day yielded an even greater performance for the Bucs with the women finishing in third place in the tournament and in the conference. George Fox claimed first place with a score of 622, Whitman landed in second with a score of 653, and Whitworth finished with a score of 657.

“I think we were peeved after our performance the first day and we came out with some fire,” junior Chelsea Bayley said.

Lomax finished ninth with a score of 162, with Bayley and Schuster finishing in a four-way tie for tenth with scores of 163.

The men’s team will be moving on to Nationals, which will be held May 12-15 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Golf teams finish at the top

The men’s and women’s golf teams competed in the Northwest Conference Spring Classic tournaments this weekend, with the men’s team playing in Olympia and the women’s playing in Spanaway. The first day ended with the men’s team in first place and the women’s in second, but both ended in the top spot after the weekend ended. Of particular note was junior Samson Martinez, who led the men’s team to the top during the first day after hitting a 73, putting himself ahead of Willamette’s Ryan Kukula, who scored a 75. The difference actually led to Whitworth’s lead as a whole, as Whitworth led with a 308 against Willamette’s 310 after the first day.

“I owe my success to the support of God, my family and friends,” Martinez said, adding that his eagle on the par-five 14th hole was the highlight of his whole weekend.

The women’s team ended up in second place after the first round, with three players in the top ten. Junior Chelsea Bayley and sophomore Michal Schuster tied for fourth place along with three others with a score of 79, while senior Nicole Lomax landed in eighth with an 80. George Fox led the first round overall with a score of 317, with Whitworth at 322 and Whitman at 323.

The second day proved even better for both teams, with the men finishing in first with an even more sizable lead, and the women’s team tying for first place. Though Linfield ended up with the highest scoring individual overall on the men’s side, Whitworth ended up increasing their lead as a team, ending the day with a 300 and a tournament total of 608, as opposed to Pacific Lutheran’s 310 and 625 and Willamette’s 316 and 626. The women’s team jumped ahead of George Fox with a day score of 307. However, Whitman ended up playing a 306 that resulted in both the Missionaries and the Bucs getting a 629 total, tying for first above Fox’s 631.

Martinez ended up finishing the tournament in second place, as did Bayley.

“We did a really good job of staying in the moment and taking one shot at a time instead of just thinking about the final score,” Bayley said in regard to Whitworth’s comeback.

“We worked together and gave each other great advice during the round. We were also really positive, which helps out a ton,” junior Tyler McQuilkin said.

Both teams play again April 25-26 in Sunriver, Oregon for the NWC Tournament.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Golf wins before rain

The first day of the Lewis & Clark Invitational ended with both the men’s and women’s teams in first place and contained notable performances. Junior Oliver Rudnicki led the team with a score of 69, while junior Andrew Dodge, junior Austin Billeter, sophomore Jamie Carroll and Junior Samson Martinez all contributed with scores of 76, 81, 82 and 84, which all led to a Whitworth lead of 304 over Pacific Lutheran University, Willamette University, Linfield College, George Fox University, Pacific University and Lewis & Clark College. On the women’s side, freshman Katie Ochoa and junior Chelsea Bayley held the first and second place with scores of 79 and 80 respectively, with senior Nicole Lomax’s 83, sophomore Michal Schuster’s 86, and junior Cindy Tapia’s 94 also being of particular note and contributing to Whitworth’s 328 at the end of the first day.

“I’ve hit in the 70s before, but doing it in a college tournament means so much more,” Ochoa said on her victory last weekend.

However, the tournament was cancelled due to poor weather conditions on the second day, meaning that the first day’s scores ended up being final.

“We were fortunate enough to come out strong and end the first day ahead,” Rudnicki said.

Indeed, the weather conditions were prevalent even on the first day, testing the team’s abilities greatly. Despite the circumstances, Whitworth excelled.

“We had a lot of fantastic performances today,” head coach Warren Friedrichs said in reflection upon the tournament.

The Whitworth golf teams play April 3 in Walla Walla for the Whitman Invitational.

After the Whitman Invite, both teams will gear up for the NWC Spring Classic as the men look to continue their championship form from the NWC Fall Classic last semester.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Spotted from the Crow's Nest: Samson Martinez

Junior Samson Martinez defines “family” in his own special way. He refers to it as a verb rather than a noun. Family relates to the people he’s close to, to the people that support him through his life, his struggles and his successes. He considers his closest friends to be family even though they are not blood-related, Martinez said. Martinez’s list of priorities is straightforward: God, family, work and school, friends and golf. Yes, golf is last on that list. However, Martinez said the relationships he forms with his teammates go far beyond the sport itself.

“They’re not just my golf teammates, they’re like a family to me and I would do anything for them. We care for each other like brothers,” Martinez said.

With so many high priorities in his life, Martinez said that golf practice allows him the opportunity to work on a variety of other priorities in his life.

“For me, golf practice, although it’s really hard and vigorous and makes me want to get better at my game, it’s also my social hours because I’m just out there for two and a half hours with some of my best friends at Whitworth and it makes for a great time,” Martinez said. “Golf helps me to fulfill those priorities.”

Everything Martinez involves himself heavily in, whether it be golf, academics, being a resident advisor or filling in as a babysitter, Martinez involves himself in because he sees the opportunity to develop the familial relationships in them, Martinez said.

“I just have this belief that when you ‘family’ each other, when you grow as brothers and not just friends, that bond allows you to accept that we’re not going to always believe the same thing, we’re not always going to agree with one another, we’re not always going to like each other but we will always be there for each other and we will always support each other through our life events,” Martinez said.

That mentality is taken directly from the way Martinez interacts with his own family.

“Some people feel like when their family comes to watch them play tournaments they feel like an added pressure or they don’t like it,” junior Oliver Rudnicki said. “Not the case at all with Samson, he likes them being there and being able to watch him.”

However, with all of the commitments Martinez has, it is still important for him to make everything a priority.

“The last thing I would ever want is to be with my teammates or be with my residents and have them get this vibe that I’m not fully invested in them,” Martinez said. “The best way to make an impact on the people around you is to fully invest in them and have their complete focus or have your complete focus on them.”

Even his coach has taken notice of the way Martinez keeps balance in his life.

“From my vantage point, he manages it all pretty well. I mean he’ll hit the books, he’ll tell me [he’ll be studying] four hours on a Friday night because he knew the weekend was busy and we had a tournament,” Head Coach Warren Friedrichs said. “He will hammer through a class while everyone else is out there having a good time.”

Despite the great deal of time and effort Martinez has to invest in order to push himself in everything he does, it is undoubtedly worth it in the end, Martinez said.

“People have asked me to sacrifice a couple things but I just can’t get myself to do it because every single thing I’m involved in right now has changed my life in an amazing way,” Martinez said.

However, on the days when things do not go the way Martinez expects them to, at least in golf, he leaves a reminder for himself on the head cover for one of his drivers.

Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

“Life’s not always going to be perfect, but I have a hope that God has a plan for me that’s better than I think,” Martinez said.

If that plan is any better than what Martinez is living out right now, then it should be pretty good.

 

Connor Soudani

Sports Editor

Golf teams close out PLU Tourney with wins across the board

Whitworth golf made a strong drive onto the NWC golf scene last weekend with first place finishes from both the men’s and women’s teams. The Pirate women found themselves ahead of their PLU hosts by 11 shots with a team score of 318 following the first day of competition. Junior Chelsea Bayley held on to first place in the individual player standings after hitting a two over par score of 74. Sophomore Michal Schuster was close behind with a score of 76 to finish second in the player standings after the first day. Senior Nicole Lomax was tied for seventh with 81 while freshman Katie Ochoa shot an 87 with junior Yvonne LaCoursiere rounding the day out for Whitworth with an 88.

In addition to the success of the women after the first day, the junior-heavy Whitworth men held their own to secure a 295 team score. Junior Oliver Rudnicki held on to the lead with a three under score of 69, while junior Tyler McQuilken landed in fifth with 74. Tied for sixth was junior Samson Martinez with 75, followed by junior Austin Billeter and junior Andrew Dodge with 77 each.

“First tournament of the year, just wanted to see how everyone was playing,” Head Coach Warren Friedrichs said. “We’ve got new people in the lineup on a more regular basis depending on what they’ve seen in the past.”

Friedrichs went on to say that there was no specific point total they were aiming for as teams after the first day.

“You never know how the course is playing, [especially] because we haven’t played here in a long time so I didn’t remember the course. It was pretty dry in the rough area so the ball runs out,” Friedrichs said.

The second day proved to be almost a mirror image of the first as far as scores went. Both teams held on to their leads and went on to win the tournament.

Bayley shot another 74 to retain first place in the player standings, while Schuster tied for second with two golfers from Lewis & Clark. The rest of the women’s team improved upon their scores from the previous day, highlighted by Lomax coming back to hit a 75. In addition, Ochoa dropped six strokes from her first outing to finish the second day with 82, while LaCoursiere dropped two strokes to finish with 86.

“I was three under through 11, and then on 12 I hit a good drive and I had the ball below my feet for the second shot into the par 5 and I ended up hooking it out of bounds,” Bayley said. “That was probably the most difficult shot I had all day.”

Despite her strong driving on the first day, Bayley turned to a different part of her game to secure her second 74.

“I definitely putted well today. I hit the ball well yesterday but I hit some putts today to keep the scores the same,” Bayley said.

Much like the women, the men’s team continued their sharp shooting on the second day with another team score under 300 as they secured the team victory. The Pirates edged out George Fox and Puget Sound despite low team scores from both squads on the second outing. Rudnicki clinched the individual player victory with a second 69, while Martinez came back to hit a 74 to end up tied for sixth. Billeter shot 76, McQuilken shot 80 and Dodge pulled out an 82 to give the Pirates a score of 299 for the second outing.

“For me, as opposed to the other tournaments these past two weeks, it was my putting. I was hitting quite a few putts that I haven’t really made in other tournaments,” Rudnicki said.

Rudnicki also said that there was a fair amount of planning for the approach to each hole.

“We talked about what kind of shots we wanted to hit off the tees on certain holes and not be too aggressive, but the course wasn’t a really difficult course,” Rudnicki said. “The fairways were pretty hard so there was plenty of holes you could Birdie, so you just kind of needed to get past the tough holes to give yourself an opportunity to score on the easiest holes.”

Both golf teams travel to Oregon this weekend to compete in the Pacific University Invite on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Connor Soudani

Sports Editor