Under sunny skies at Loomis Trail Golf Club in Blaine, Wash., the Seattle University men’s golf team placed higher than they ever have at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. The team played consistent golf across three rounds and finished in second place (+4), behind the University of Missouri- Kansas City (-12). Their high finish defied some odds, given their ranking heading into the WAC Championship.
Prior to the event, the league’s head coaches participated in a poll and predicted the Redhawks would finish third behind UMKC, far and away the best team in the league, and New Mexico State, reigning champs. But Seattle U had been playing excellent golf all season, placing second and fifth at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate and Redhawk Invitational respectively. More impressive was their finish at the Redhawk Invitational, which featured a very talented pool of golfers and took place at Chambers Bay, a notoriously difficult course. Thus, the team felt confident about their chances at the WAC Championship.
Day one saw the Redhawks finish second (+2) behind UMKC (-5) and just ahead of Utah Valley (+5). They were helped by an excellent performance from Ross Kukula, who finished the day at 70 (-2). They continued their strong play in the second round.
As a team, the Redhawks found their stroke in the second round, collectively playing their best golf of the event. They finished the day with a 285 (-3) and went one under par for the tournament. Unfortunately, UMKC played magnificent golf and finished the day eleven under par through two rounds.
The Redhawks faltered in the third round but played well enough to maintain their second place standing. They would finish the tournament shooting a collective 868 (+4). Their slip in the third was covered up by the fact that Utah Valley, the third place finisher, finished with an 882 (+18), 14 strokes over Seattle U’s score.
UMKC’s Antoine Rozner was crowned the individual champion after shooting -12 for the event.
“It’s an awesome feeling to make the NCAA Tournament,” Rozner said. “Last year I went as an individual, but going with your teammates and friends is so different… Freshman year, I came so close, so this is a good personal accomplishment.”
Four of the Redhawks’ five competing members at this year’s WAC Championship will be returning next year. The group will look to improve upon this year’s success as they move forward.
Will may be reached at [email protected]