Blog 343, 4/21/16 - Vikings Cap Promising Season with Victory at Coeur d'Alene

It had been an 'almost' season for the Vikings, full of top-five finishes (five from nine tournaments) and standout performances by certain individuals at certain times. But the players hadn't all clicked at the same time, and victory had eluded Luke Bennett's team... until this week.
With a 15-under-par total of 837, Western Washington won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship at Coeur d'Alene for the seventh time in nine years, regaining the form it had enjoyed before suffering a two-year lull in 2014 and 2015. No other team finished under par for the three rounds, Concordia coming in second at three-over 855.
Every one of the five Vikings recorded an under-par round over two days of play, but it was junior Brett Johnson that shone brightest, winning individual honors with rounds of 64, 73 and 66 for a 54-hole total of ten-under 203. St. Martin's Austin Spicer finished runner-up, four shots behind.
"Everything was clicking for Brett," said Coach Bennett. "He drove the ball extremely well and was solid on the greens. He has had a great season (five top-tens, 72.5 scoring average), and it was nice to see him stay mentally strong and win the tournament.”
Two other Vikings finished in the top six - junior Chris Hatch who tied for third on five-under 208, and freshman Michael Butler who shot a closing 67 to move into a tie for sixth on 210.
The two other Vikings - Jeff Marcum and Cody Roth - had disappointing final rounds (77 and 79 respectively), but contributed to the team's success with scores of 69 (Marcum) and 70 (Roth) in Monday's second round.
"It was a great two days of golf for the Vikings with near perfect weather and course conditions,” said Bennett. “The team played extremely solid from the start and just didn’t let up."
The Vikings find out tomorrow if they advance to the NCAA II Regionals when the selection show airs at 3pm on The NCAA II West Regional will be held May 2-3 in Las Cruces, New Mexico at the NMSU Golf Course.
GNAC Championship results here.

In the women's GNAC Championship, held concurrently with the men's event, the Vikings finished second, shooting 57-over 625 for the 36 holes, and finishing eight back of winner Simon Fraser University. Sophomore Jenn Paul finished tied for third individually with rounds of 79 and 74 - two more than individual champion Michelle Waters of Simon Fraser.
Audrey Orem was fifth on 155, Kristen Hansen tied for tenth on 158, Hannah Drake tied for 13th on 159, and Brooke Branigan came in tied for 21st on 162.
“We played poorly down the stretch when we had a chance to really close the gap,” said head coach Bo Stephan. “But Jenn and Audrey really struck the ball well, and put together good rounds."
"I feel we have a lot of good golf left to play," Stephan added. "And I also feel good about our chances to move on to regionals. We are a good golf team, this week just didn’t go our way. Hats off to Simon Fraser though, as they played a really good tournament.”
Results here.

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