Willamette Finishes Sixth with Strong Second Day at Lutes Invitational

Kukula Shoots a 74 for Lowest Second-Round Score in Tournament

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

DuPONT, WASH. -- Led by the day's top individual round from freshman Ryan Kukula (Fr., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS), the Willamette University Bearcats improved by 16 strokes over the first round to place sixth in the final standings of the Lutes Invitational, which ended on Sunday, March 4 at The Home Course.

Kukula, who was 32nd after shooting an 85 in the first round, surged up the leaderboard on Sunday, carding a 74 to lead all golfers. He tied for 15th overall at 159.

With Kukula providing the lead, Willamette lowered its team score from 329 in the first round to 313 for the final 18 holes. The Bearcats were in seventh place on Saturday, two strokes behind George Fox University, but Willamette rolled past the Bruins with a combined score of 642. GFU slipped into seventh place at 659 (327-332).

Linfield College won the tournament with a team score of 607 (300-307) for 36 holes. Pacific Lutheran University, the tournament host, took second place at 620 (312-308). North Idaho College (310-315) and Whitworth University (304-321) tied for third place at 625. The University of Puget Sound took fifth place at 631 (322-309). Following Willamette and George Fox was Pacific University in eighth place at 684 (347-337).

Kukula finished with Willamette's lowest overall score, but he was closely followed by three other Bearcats. Cody Plofker (Fr., Montclair, NJ/Montclair HS), Jonathan Ross (Fr., Tukwila, WA/Foster HS) and Jacob Simonson (So., Fairview, OR/Reynolds HS) each carded a 161. Plofker shot 78-83, Ross earned 84-77 and Simonson went 82-79.

Kyle Derby (So., Oakdale, CA/Oakdale HS) also competed for Willamette. His combined score was 171 (85-86).

The individual champion of the tournament was Alex Fitch from Linfield, who shot a 148 (72-76). His first round score of 72 tied him with Linfield teammate Taylor Klopp for the lead after 18 holes, but Fitch gained a one-stroke edge during the second round. Klopp (72-77) tied for second place at 149 with Jesse Salzwedel of Whitworth, who shot 73-76.

Tim Livermore of Pacific Lutheran was fourth at 150 (75-75). Dustin Hegge, also from PLU, tied for fifth place with A.J. Taylor of Linfield at 154. Hegge carded 78-76, while Taylor shot 77 in both rounds.

The Bearcats will return to action next weekend, when they will host the Willamette Invitational in Salem, Ore. On Saturday, March 10, the first round will be held at Creekside Golf Club, starting at 12 p.m. (PST). The tournament will conclude on Sunday, March 11 with 18 holes at Illahe Hills Country Club, with tee time slated for 12 p.m. (PDT).

An extended story will be posted later.
Willamette vs. Corban Dual
At Oak Knoll Golf Course
Salem, Ore.
March 3-4, 2012
Ryan Kukula recorded the lowest second-round score in the tournament with a 74.

Ryan Kukula recorded the lowest second-round score in the tournament with a 74.