WALLA WALLA - Whitman College serves as the host this weekend as the Northwest Conference brings its women's and men's Spring Classic golf tournaments to the Wildhorse Golf Course in Mission, Ore.
The two-day 36-hole tournaments get underway Saturday. The women's field tees off at 8:30 a.m. with the men to follow at about 10:30.
Sunday's closing round has the men starting at 9:30 a.m. followed by the women at 11:30 a.m.
The tournaments count for 25 percent of the scoring in a season-long point system used to determine the women's and men's conference champions.
The George Fox women and Puget Sound men won last October's NWC Fall Classic tournaments, which also count for 25 percent of the overall championship scoring.
Once this weekend's tournaments are in the books, teams will regroup and head to the Tri-Cities in late April for the two-day NWC Championship tournaments.
Results from those tournaments count for the final 50 percent of the scoring used to determine the final standings and award NWC titles.
Whitman golf coaches Peter McClure (men) and Skip Molitor (women) are this weekend's tournament directors.
Teams can enter five players this weekend and use their lowest four scores for team scoring purposes.
NWC Women's Spring Classic
The women compete this weekend on a par-72 Wildhorse course set at 5,837 yards with a 73.5 rating and slope (degree of difficulty) of 127.
A year ago at this time, Whitman edged George Fox by a single stroke to win the 2011 Spring Classic at The Links at Hawks Prairie in Lacey, Wash. Whitman's Katie Zajicek won medalist honors by six strokes over her nearest competitor.
While Zajicek is back for the Missionaries, returning players for George Fox include Jill Westendorf, who was fourth at last spring's event, and Kelsey Morrison, who tied for fifth.
Whitworth, third in the team scoring last spring, returns Emily Guthrie, who finished in a fifth-place tie in the individual scoring.
Serving as a more recent backdrop for this weekend's tournament are results from last October's NWC Fall Classic, which was held at Heron Lakes in Portland.
With Megan McGrew and Morrison finishing 1-2 in the individual scoring, George Fox won the 2011 Fall Classic to jump into first place in the current season standings with eight points.
Led by Tate Head, who placed third in the individual scoring, Whitman was second at the Fall Classic and sits in second place in the latest standings with seven points.
The Missionaries also got a boost last fall from Zajicek, who tied Linfield's Hannah Christianson for fifth, and Catelyn Webber, who tied Westendorf (George Fox) for eighth.
On the strength of its third-place finish at the Fall Classic, Willamette sits in third in the current standings with six points. Mckenzie Weinhold placed fourth and Nicole Smith tied for 10th to pace the Bearcats.
Based on the Fall Classic order of finish, other teams and current point totals are Linfield 5, Whitworth 4, Pacific Lutheran 3, Pacific 2, Puget Sound 1, and Lewis & Clark 0.
Others who placed among the individual leaders last fall were Whitworth's Guthrie (7th), Pacific Lutheran's Whitney Hobbs (10th-tie) and Whitman's Sarah Debs (12th).
NWC Men's Spring Classic
The men's tournament this weekend plays a par-72 Wildhorse layout set at 6,902 yards with a 74.2 rating and 129 slope.
The 2011 Spring Classic, played at The Links at Hawks Prairie, saw Linfield cruise to a nine-stroke victory over its nearest challenger.
Alex Fitch, who tied for fourth in the individual scoring, returns for the Wildcats, as does A.J. Taylor.
Puget Sound, the runner-up last spring, returns Matt Kitto, who was third in the individual scoring, and Riley Conlin, who tied for sixth.
Pacific and Whitworth were a close third and fourth, respectively, at the 2011 Spring Classic, but both teams have lost key players to graduation.
The missing include Pacific's Max Bonk, who won medalist honors at four straight Spring Classic events, and Whitworth's Cameron Whittle, who tied for fourth a year ago.
Back for the Pirates, however, are Christian Boudreau, who was eighth last spring, and Jesse Salzwedel, who tied for ninth.
After beating its nearest competitor by 13 strokes at last October's Fall Classic, Puget Sound heads to this weekend's tournament in first place with eight points.
Kitto paced the Loggers to that victory with a second-place showing in the individual scoring, finishing two strokes back of the medalist, Pacific Lutheran's Dustin Hegge.
Puget Sound had two other players, Conlin and Adam Bean, finish near the top of the leader board last fall.
They were part of a three-way tie for fifth.
By finishing second at the 2011 Fall Classic, Linfield moved into second place in the current team standings with seven points.
Fitch (5th-tie) and Taylor (10th) led the way for the Wildcats in the individual scoring, but two of their teammates, Thomas Arand and Ryan Nolan, tied for 11th with Aleks Gabrio (George Fox) and Nick Kelley (Puget Sound).
Whitman is third in the latest season standings after finishing third at the Fall Classic and earning six points.
Scott Martin tied for third in the individual scoring while one of his teammates, Geoff Burks, tied Pacific Lutheran's Daron Casey for eighth.
Based on the Fall Classic order of finish, other teams and current point totals are Whitworth 5, Pacific Lutheran 4, George Fox 3, Willamette 2, Pacific 1, and Lewis & Clark 0.