Whit men's golfers fourth at Spring Thaw

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BEND, Ore. — Whitman College men’s golf coach Peter McClure was hoping for three scores in the 70s and a fourth score that could make a difference here Sunday during the second and final round of the Spring Thaw at the Broken Top Golf Course.

McClure got his wish — sort of.

With Scott Martin, Andrew Welch and Daniel Hoffman all coming through with sub-80 rounds on the par-72 Broken Top track, McClure had his three scores in the 70s. And the fourth score mattered, but not in the way the coach had hoped.

Senior Jonathan Standen of nearby Sisters, Ore., who had recorded the best score of his collegiate career during Saturday’s opening round here with a 3-over-par 75, ballooned to a 91 during Sunday’s final round.

“Golf can be cruel,” McClure said. “Jonathan just couldn’t keep his tee shots in play. He had the ducks going and couldn’t control the tee shot.”

Junior Scott Martin proved to be Whitman’s most consistent player as he followed up an opening-round 74 with a 78 on Sunday for a 152 total that gave him a share of seventh place in the field of 22. Senior Andrew Welch posted a 77 Sunday after a first-round 76 for a 153 total and a share of 11th place. And sophomore Daniel Hoffman, who struggled to a 10-over-par 82 on Saturday, recovered with a team-leading 1-over-par 73 Sunday for a 155 score and a share of 14th place.

Whitman’s 319 team total Sunday was 12 strokes more than its opening-round 307 and the Missionaries slipped from third place to fourth in the six-team field with a 626 total for 36 holes.

Host Willamette, led by individual medalist Ryan Kukula, claimed the team championship. The Bearcats followed up a first-round 290 with a second-day 294 and a 584 overall score, which was 16 shots better than second-place Corban University.

Corban’s 600 tally was followed by Linfield at 615, Whitman 626, Pacific 640 and Lewis & Clark 641.

Kukula, the only player to break par both days, shot a 3-under-par 69 Sunday. Combined with his first-round 67, Kukula finished at 136, eight strokes under par and nine strokes in front of Corban’s Zach Mode, who put together rounds of 71 and 74 for a 1-over-par 145 total and sole possession of second place.

Steven Rodriguez of Willamette and Jared Lambert of Corban tied for third place at 149. And a pair of Bearcats, Chase Lamothe and Peter Mitzel, matched 150 scores for 36 holes to tie for fifth place.

Whitman’s Martin was knotted for seventh place at 152 with the Linfield duo of Taylor Klopp and Kyle Hargrave as well as Pacific’s Josh Mau. Welch and David Patterson of Corban shared 11th place at 153 and Hoffman was in a three-way knot for 14th with Logan Munson of Linfield and Corey Marineau of Pacific, all three in at 155.

“The highlight of the day was Daniel Hoffman,” McClure said of his sophomore from Los Altos, Calif. “He was really frustrated after the first round because he couldn’t get any putts to go in, but Sunday was just the opposite. He could see the line and he had the speed.”

Hoffman birdied the first hole he played in the shotgun start and finished his round with back-to-back birdies.

“Andrew played his usual game,” McClure said of Welch. “He didn’t make as many putts as he needed to make, and he didn’t get it up and down like he probably should have. But it was a pretty good tournament for him.

“And Scott Martin hit the ball really well. His irons were flying at the flags. His downfall was his putting, three three-putts and one four-putt.”

Whitman will entertain its own 36-hole Easter Invitational this weekend, with Saturday’s first round at Veterans Memorial Golf Course and Sunday’s concluding round at the Wine Valley Golf Club. Then it’s on to the Northwest Conference Championships the following weekend at the OGA Golf Course in Woodburn, Ore.

“We need that fourth score to be lower,” the coach said of his team’s ability to compete. “Everyone knows it. We’re going to try and put two good rounds together this weekend.”

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