Blog 69, 10/12/10 - Vikings Victorious

Xavier Dailly*
How ironic that the only tournament Western Washington University didn't win on its fall schedule was its own - the Viking Invitational. Having won the St Martin's Invitational by five strokes at Olympia CC the week before, Western teed off at Bellingham Golf & Country Club brimming with confidence and, sure enough, was tied for the lead at the end of the first day (and just to prove how deep the WWU squad is this year, the five individuals who participated but who weren't part of the varsity team would have had a nine-shot lead after two rounds had they joined forces.) An indifferent final-round 290, however, saw the team finish one stroke behind Chico State and tied for second with Cal State Monterey Bay.
At the Grand Canyon University Fall Invitational in Goodyear, AZ, with Brian Barhanovich and Sam Ayotte now on the team following their superb performances at Bellingham GCC (Barhanovich had shared medalist honors with Sonoma State's Patrick Bauer, while Ayotte finished third), the Vikings won by an incredible 20 strokes. Dylan Goodwin won his first collegiate tournament on six-under 210, and three of the team finished inside the top-ten.
In a high-scoring event at Butte Creek CC in Chico, Calif this week, Western established a one-stroke lead at the end of the first day, but broke away from the chasing pack in round three, eventually winning by ten. Again, three Vikings made it into the top-ten - Xavier Dailly who finished tied for sixth on one-over 217, Patrick Boag who was ninth on 220, and Goodwin who closed with a tremendous 67 for a 54-hole total of 222 and a tie for tenth. Barhanovich tied for 14th and Nick Varelia, back in the team after missing the Grand Canyon event, was tied for 38th.
Not surprisingly, Coach Steve Card was pretty pleased with his charges, but cautioned the team against complacency. "The teams we were able to beat this fall are going to get better," he said Tuesday. "And it's going to be a dogfight all year long. Right now, we might feel pretty good about where we're at, but our work is not done."
Of the seven players that have been part of the team this season, only two - Xavier Dailly and Dylan Goodwin - have teed it up at all four events. Dailly has a win, three top-tens and a stroke average of 71.25, while Goodwin who transferred to Western from UW in the summer, also has a win and three top-tens. His average is 71.42.
The Vikings now wait until the last week of February for their next tournament - the Cal State San Bernardino Invitational at Arrowhead CC in San Bernardino, Calif.

How ironic too that the Western women's team did win the female version of the Viking Invitational at Bellingham GCC, beating Sonoma State into second-place by 12 strokes, Tuesday. Just as they did at the St Martin's Invitational last week, Bellingham's own Katie Sharpe and Sophie Elstrott from Eugene, OR tied for medalist honors, shooting one-over 147 for the 36 holes. The women also have three wins and a second from their four events this season, having captured the Viking, St Martin's and Grand Canyon Invitationals, but finishing runner-up at Sonoma State.

Those who have taken advantage of the glorious weather we've had this week and last, may have noticed how good the greens at Lake Padden are despite being aerated a couple of weeks ago. "The punch job went really well,'' says Mel Fish, the Director of Golf. "It seems to get better every time we do it; since Scott (McBeath) has been here anyway. I don't know how it could have gone any better. You really couldn't tell the greens had been punched ten days after Scott finished, and by the end of two weeks they were back to normal speed."

(* This great photo of Xavier Dailly was taken for the 'Western Front' by Seattle photographer Daniel Berman. Check out his web site here.)

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