By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Sam Hinton (Jr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS) was tied for first place with a 1-under-par 71 and Ben Graham (Fr., Renton, WA/Liberty HS) was one stroke back in third place with a 72, leading Willamette University to a 5-stroke lead after the first round of the Whitworth Men's Invitational on Sunday, Oct. 1 at the Kalispel Golf and Country Club. Willamette registered a team score of 295, while Pacific Lutheran University was second at 300.
Hinton, and Sam Stiles from Whitworth, who also shot a 71, were the only golfers to finish below par for the day. Graham's even-par round gave him sole possession of third, while Austin Darnell of Pacific Lutheran held fourth place with a 1-over-par 73. Mac Turner from the University of Puget Sound was fifth with a 74.
Four golfers, including Trent Jones (Jr., Kenmore, WA/Shorecrest HS) of Willamette, were tied for sixth place with matching 75s. Tied with Jones were Mitchell Baldridge of PLU and Linfield golfers Bodhi Parkin and Michael Sullivan. A total of 46 athletes competed on Sunday.
Joining Hinton, Graham and Jones on Willamette's five-man team were Mason Phalen (Fr., Kenmore, WA/Inglemoor HS) and Kenneth Sheldon (Jr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS). Phalen carded a 77 and was one of five golfers tied for 14th place. Sheldon shot 78 and was tied with two golfers for 19th place.
"It is a tough track (difficult to manage) out there at Kalispel," Willamette Head Coach Patrick Daugherty said. "Only two of our five golfers had ever played it, so I thought they handled it really well. Our guys played the course with a lot of maturity today and had really good course management. Besides that, they just had a lot of fun out there, never getting too high or too low on emotion."
The reward for Willamette's strong play was the top spot on the team leaderboard entering Sunday's final round. Willamette's 295 and PLU's 300 were followed in the standings by Whitworth in both third and fourth place. The Pirates fielded two teams for their home event, with one carding 305 and the other completing the round at 309. Linfield College was fifth with a score of 310, while Puget Sound was sixth at 327. Whitman College ended the day in seventh place at 332 and Pacific University was eighth at 340.
Note: Photo of Sam Hinton courtesty of Steve Flegel and Whitworth Sports Information