Blog 282, 9/23/13 - Disappointing Start for Home Team at Viking Invitational

Mark Strickland; T7 on 145.
Defending champion Western Washington made a poor start to the 42nd Viking Invitational at Bellingham Golf and Country Club Monday, posting rounds of 299 and 296 to finish the day eighth out of 11 teams. The Vikings, ranked ninth in the Golf World/Nike Golf NCAA Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll, will head into tomorrow'a final round eighth shots behind co-leaders Simon Fraser (299-288) and Sonoma State (293-294).
“The conditions were not easy by any means," said WWU interim coach Luke Bennett. "They had to deal with the rain most of the day. Then the greens got a little bumpy and we saw some shorter putts not go our way, so we were just not able to get any momentum.”
Junior Mark Strickland was Western's top performer over the first 36 holes, shooting 72 and 73 to finish day one tied for seventh on one-over 145. Sophomore Jack Kelly is tied for tenth on 146.  “Jack played solid for most of the day,” said Bennett. “From what I saw from tee to green, he played well and always had a smile. I hope to see more of that tomorrow."
The other Vikings were Brennan Emory (T28 on 151), Anthony Allen (T38 on 153), and Kyle Schrader (T45 on 155).
"I know the guys have some very high expectations," said Bennett. "They’re out there working their tails off because they want it so bad. But that can almost hinder them because they’re putting so much pressure on themselves that it hurts their scores"
At only eight shots back, however, Bennett and his team will be hoping for better things Tuesday. “It’s very doable, especially on our home course" said Bennett. "They know it better than anyone else. So, they left in good spirits and are looking forward to getting after it tomorrow.”
Scores here.

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