ROSLYN, Wash. — Walla Walla found itself in sixth place, 21 shots off the pace, heading into today’s second round of the Suncadia Invitational men’s golf tournament at Suncadia’s par-72 Prospector Golf Course
Spokane topped the field of nine NWAACC schools with a 5-over-par score of 293, which was good for a nine-stroke advantage over second place Green River, which totaled 302 strokes for its top four players.
It was another five shots back to Skagit Valley, which was alone in third place midway through the 36-hole event. Bellevue and Southwest Oregon carded identical 313 scores to share fourth place and were just one shot in front of the sixth-place Warriors’ 314 tally.
Columbia Basin came next at 318, followed by Olympic 320 and Grays Harbor 323.
Although the Warriors shot poorly as a team, WWCC’s Mike Ciez found himself atop the individual leader board after his first-round 71 was the only sub-par round on a day made difficult by both course and weather conditions.
“The course played a couple of strokes harder than usual because of some rough spots coming out of winter,” WWCC coach Mike Rostollan said. “And the wind and rain kicked up often enough to present challenges as well.
“But Mike (Ciez) played a very steady round of golf, with two birdies and just one bogey. He didn’t miss but a couple of fairways and greens.”
Ciez carried a four-shot lead into today’s play. Brock Johnson of Green River and Josh Whitley of Skagit Valley were knotted in second place after shooting matching 1-over-par 73s Sunday.
Cole Lorenzo led Spokane to the first-round lead and was one of four players logjammed in third place at 2-over 74. The others were Colten Kleis of Bellevue, Justin Wiles of Southwest Oregon and Patrick Nugent of Grays Harbor.
Brandon Barlow of Green River, Brad Hunt of Skagit Valley, Cole Chavez of Southwest Oregon and Sam Para and Jack Tomlinson of Columbia Basin were at at 75.
Cole Sajonia was second on WWCC’s scorecard with a 77. Grant Geelan, Brennon Lancaster and Sean Anderson shot 83s and Sage Seneca carded an 85.
“Mike’s going to be playing in the last group with a four-shot lead,” Rostollan said of Ciez. “He’s got a real shot at winning this thing, although for him it will depend on his putting.
“Mike didn’t get the support from his teammates. They will need to post better scores in round two to move up the board, or else we will have to make some changes.”
Walla Walla’s women’s team was tied for third place after a first-round total of 270 for its top three players. Bellevue had the lead at 253, Green River was alone in second place at 266 and Columbia Basin was even with the Warriors at 270.
It was another seven shots back to Spokane at 277, followed by Centralia at 320. Grays Harbor, Olympic and Skagit Valley had incomplete teams.
Bellevue’s Suchada Anusuriya was the women’s individual leader with a five-over-par 77 that was good for a four-stroke lead over Lesie Guzman of Olympic, who was in at 81. Hope Neidhold of Columbia Basin was alone in third place with an 84 and Madeleine Ottosson of Green River came next with an 85.
Walla Walla’s Kelsey Bigness shot 87 and was tied for fifth place with Britney Thurber of Green River and Brigid Rypien of Spokane. The Warriors’ Kelsey Sage was in eighth place with an 88.
Stephanie Bullock recorded Walla Walla’s third counting score with a 95. Autumn Snydeer shot a non-counting 108 and Shay Jones competed but did not turn in a scorecard.