Whitworth men lead Whitman Invitational

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WALLA WALLA — Whitworth University fired a 1-under-par 287 team score Sunday at the Wine Valley Golf Club and fashioned a four-shot lead over Pacific Lutheran University halfway through the Whitman College Invitational men’s golf tournament.

Host Whitman shot its best 18-hole team score of the season and cracked the 300 barrier with a 299 total that was 11 shots over par for its top four scorers. Nevertheless, the Missionaries found themselves in fifth place in eight-team field, trailing Puget Sound (293) and Linfield (297) as well as Whitworth and PLU.

Sixth-place Willamette shot 304 Sunday and trailed the Missionaries by just five shots heading into today’s second and final round of the tournament. George Fox carded 313 and Lewis & Clark 338 to round out the field of Northwest Conference rivals.

Whitworth’s Lyle Rudnicki and PLU’s Dustin Hegge shared first-round medalist honors with matching 3-under-par 69s. They were just one shot up on a quartet of players — Whitworth’s Oliver Rudnicki, Willamette’s Ryan Kukula, PLU’s Justin Lee and George Fox’s Chris Lumsden — who were logjammed in third place with 2-under-par 70s.

Whitman College freshman Evan Dyar was in a group of three players in seventh place at even-par 72. A.J. Taylor of Linfield and Derek Wilson of UPS also matched par during the first round.

Daniel Hoffman, Geoff Burks and Scott Martin turned in Whitman’s other three counting scores. Hoffman shot a 2-over-par 74 and was tied for 12th place, Burks was another stroke back at 75 and tied for 17th, and Martin shot 78 and was tied for 28th.

Nathan Fisher and Connor Hood shot non-counting 81s for the Missionaries and Jordan Dickson came in with a 94.

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