By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University is ranked #17 in the latest Bushnell Golfweek NCAA Division III Coaches Poll in men's golf. The Bearcats advanced eight spots from a tie for #25 in the previous poll released in late September.
During the fall season, the Bearcats won all four tournaments they entered, including the 2017 Northwest Conference Fall Classic, which counts for one-fourth of the overall 2017-18 NWC championship. Willamette's win at the Fall Classic puts the team in a strong position heading into the spring season, which will feature the NWC Spring Classic and the NWC Tournament.
The Bearcats also won three individual titles at tournament this fall.
Sam Hinton (Jr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS) took first place at the Whitworth Men's Invitational with a score of 3-under-par 141 (71-70) on Oct. 1-2. Hinton also won the GFU Invitational by carding an even-par 144 (73-71) on Oct. 7-8. Trent Jones (Jr., Kenmore, WA/Shorecrest HS) placed first at the NWC Fall Classic with a score of 6-under-par 136 (66-70). Jones earned the title with a birdie on the first playoff hole.
The top team in the most recent NCAA Divison III Coaches Poll was Huntingdon College (Ala.) with 434 points and four of 18 first place votes. Huntingdon advanced from the #2 position in September. University of Texas-Tyler, which was #1 last month, dropped one spot to #2 in the latest poll. Even so, UT-Tyler received 11 first place votes and 430 points.
Illinois Wesleyan University moved up one spot to #3 in the poll with 407 points. Emory University (Ga.) fell one spot to #4 with one first place vote and 389 points. Methodist College (N.C.) stayed at #5 and received 344 points, a 48-point drop from September. University of St. Thomas (Minn.), which was unranked a month ago, surged all the way up to #6 and received two first place votes along with 343 points. Concordia University (Texas) retained its #7 ranking with 326 points.
Advancing four positions into the #8 ranking was Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) with 252 points. Guilford College (N.C.) followed at #9 with 248 points, and Sewanee: University of the South (Tenn.) was #10 with 241 points.
Including Willamette, a total of four teams were ranked from the West Coast. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps led the way at #8, with Willamette at #17, University of Redlands (Calif.) at #20, and Pacific Lutheran University at #23. Three teams from Texas also were listed with UT-Tyler at #2, Concordia University at #7, and Southwestern University at #22, giving the West Region seven teams in the top 25.