Walla Walla Cummunity College golfer Dunovant wins NWAACC title

Dona Dunovant improves by a stroke to take the two-shot victory over Green River's Caral Martinson.

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BREMERTON, Wash. - The Walla Walla Community College men's golf team settled into familiar territory here Monday during the concluding round of the NWAACC Championships at the Gold Mountain Golf Complex's Olympic course.

But the Warriors' Dona Dunovant surged to the women's individual championship with a closing-round 77 for a two-shot victory over Green River's Caral Martinson.

"Dona improved by one shot on a more difficult course," Walla Walla coach Mike Rostollan said in praise of Dunovant, who wrapped up her first season with the Warriors by winning her final two tournaments. Donovant was also the champion at the Bandon Invitational that led up to the NWAACC Championships.

"She had one glitch, a double-bogey when she miss-clubbed herself," Rostollan said. "And she missed a couple of putts that she wasn't happy about. But other than that she played solid all the way through.

"And I told her she wasn't the only one to miss a couple of putts."

Rostollan wasn't pleased with the way his men's team performed Monday after an opening round 283 on Gold Mountain's Cascade Course that had the Warriors within five shots of the lead. But they ballooned to 307 Monday for a 590 total that left them in fourth place, 24 shots behind Bellevue, which won the championship with a 566 score.

The Warriors also finished fourth in each of the four regular-season NWAACC tournaments.

"It wasn't a very happy day for us," Rostollan said of his men's team. "The course was a little tougher, but it was the same for all of us. Guys on other teams just outplayed us. Our guys didn't play like we could, and the last few holes were unraveling."

Marcus Kilthau was the only Warrior to crack the all-tournament team as he shot a 2-over-par 74 Monday for a 144 score, good enough for a three-way share of fifth place in the individual standings.

"Marcus was solid all day," Rostollan said. "He went two-over early in the round and then made pars the rest of the day."

The Warriors' next two counting scores came from Max Levitch and Daniel Morgan, who matched 77s. Levitch followed up on a first-round 73 that gave him a 150 score for 36 holes, nine shots off the pace. Morgan had a non-counting 75 Sunday and finished at 152.

What cost the Warriors most dearly was the play of their two top players.

Jeff Neher and Mike Noreen, who shot matching 70s on Sunday that gave them a share of third place along with Kilthau, shot identical scores again Monday with nine-over-par 81s that left them far back in the pack with 151s.

"I'm sure they would have liked to have played better in their final rounds for the Warriors," Rostollan said of his two sophomore leaders. "But that's golf. I am sure they understand that. They had tremendous careers here."

With the two 81 scores tossed out, Cory Spencer's 79 was WWCC's fourth counting score on Monday. For the tournament, Spencer was 157.

KC Chang triggered Bellevue's team victory with a course-record 64 Monday. And the Bulldogs needed every birdie Change managed as their 566 tally edged second-place Spokane by a single stroke.

In fact, Chang sank a 30-foot putt for birdie on the final hole to decide the team championship.

"I feel a little sorry for the Spokane," Rostollan said. "They lost the NWAACC title in a playoff last year, and this year, with the same group of kids, they lose it by one shot.

Spokane's Tyler Johnson claimed the men's medalist with 71-70-141, which was good for a one-shot victory over Chang and one of Sunday's first-round co-leaders, Bulldog Johnny Carey. Carey and another Bellevue player, Matt Epstein, matched 68s Sunday, but Carey could do no better than 74 Monday and Epstein shot 75.

Chang opened on Sunday with a 78.

Skagit Valley also surpassed Walla Walla in the team standings to finish third with a 585 score. Columbia Basin shot 600 to finish fifth, followed by Olympic 606, Southwest Oregon 621, Treasure Valley 642, Green River 671 and Grays Harbor 677.

"If we had even played mediocre golf, we would have stayed ahead of Skagit Valley and finished in third place," Rostollan said.

Walla Walla's other two counting scores on women's side were Jamie Robison with 97 and Jordan Simpkins at 100. Simkins finished with a 195 total and Robison 196.

The Spokane women totaled 480 for the championship, two shots in front of Green River. Skagit Valley was third with 531 and Walla Walla moved up one spot to fourth place at 546. Southwest Oregon shot 557, Olympic 562. Centralia 569, Bellevue 596, Columbia Basin 664 and Grays Harbor had an incomplete team.

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