Willamette Women's Golfers are Set for an Exciting Season

Weinhold, Gallup to Lead the way for the Bearcats

By John Lind and Robert McKinney

SALEM, ORE -- The Willamette women's golf team will start the 2013 spring season with hopes of individual and team success against a challenging and exciting tournament schedule. The Bearcats will tee off at the first event of the season when they host the Willamette Invitational on Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3 at Illahe Hills Country Club. Action begins at 1 p.m. (PST) each day.

Willamette is ready to work its way through an interesting schedule this season. On top of three regular tournaments, the NWC Spring Classic and the NWC Championship Tournament, the team is slated to travel to Honolulu, Hawaii, over Spring Break to partake in the Ohana Classic at Kaneohe Klipper and Ko'olau Golf Courses on March 26-27.

Mckenzie Weinhold (Placerville, CA/El Dorado HS/Univ. of Nevada-Reno) said the entire team was excited for the chance to play in Hawaii. "Pretty much all we can think about is ... getting some sun while playing some great golf courses," Weinhold said. "It will be relaly good as well to play some different teams in addition to some teams in our conference so we can see how we stack up to those outside the Northwest."

The Bearcats' other tournaments will take them to several locations in Oregon and Washington. Willamette will host the NWC Championship Tournament this year at the Oregon Golf Association in Woodburn, Ore. Competition at the OGA Golf Course is set for April 20-21.

With only five golfers on the roster, the women's team will need consistent performances week in and week out in order to by highly competitive. Luckily, Head Coach Noah Horstman thinks the golfers are very capable of doing that.

"All five of our girls are great," Horstman said. "For a young team, we're probably one of the strongest [teams] in the conference."

Willamette has three sophomores and two freshmen on the roster. The sophomores are Weinhold, LettaJoe Gallup (Alameda, CA/Holy Names HS) and Mele Ana Kastner (Vancouver, WA/Columbia River HS).

Weinhold placed 12th at the NWC Championship Tournament last season, after shooting a solid 79 in the second round for a final score of 166. Weinhold took second place at the West Region Invitational hosted by Southwestern University (Texas), where she shot 79 in the first round and finished at 163.

"Personally for my game, I would really like to be more consistent in my rounds as well as getting my scores consistently lower," Weinhold said. "I have been playing golf for awhile so now I just need to keep focusing in and accomplish what I know I can do."

Weinhold said she thought the team had the potential to finish as high as second in the NWC this year. "George Fox, Whitman and Whitworth are always good, but I think we can beat them if we really focus and are on our games," Weinhold said.

This past fall, Elise Levy (Fr., Reno, NV/Bishop Monague HS) shot a 76 on the second day and tied for fourth place at the Boxer Classic with a score of 158. Levy and Taneesh Kaur Sra (Fr., Fremont, CA/Mission San Jose HS) both tied for eighth place at the Whitworth Invitational at 165, with Kaur Sra shooting 79 in the opening round.

As a team, the Bearcats took fourth place at the NWC Fall Classic. Weinhold and Kaur Sra each tied for 12th place.

Two of Willamette's golfers -- Levy and Gallup -- have achieved a hole-in-one in recent months.

Levy accomplished her hole-in-one during the second round of the NWC Fall Classic on Oct. 28 at the Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield, Wash. It occurred on the par-3 17th hole from about 130 yards.

Gallup earned her hole-in-one while playing at the Peter Hay Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif., during the Winter Break. She was playing the par-3 third hole and succeeded with just one shot from 82 yards.

Mckenzie Weinhold is one of three sophomores who helped Willamette place third at the NWC Championship Tournament as freshmen last spring.

Mckenzie Weinhold is one of three sophomores who helped Willamette place third at the NWC Championship Tournament as freshmen last spring.