Kukula Wins NWC Fall Classic after Shooting 68 in Second Round

Bearcats Move up a Spot to Sixth Place in Team Standings

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

RIDGEFIELD, WASH. -- Ryan Kukula (So., Ocean Park, WA/Ilwaco HS) of Willamette University shot a 68 in the second round of the Northwest Conference Fall Classic to win the individual title with a 36-hole score of 2-under-par 142, as the tournament concluded on Sunday, Oct. 28 at the Tri-Mountain Golf Course.

Kukula, who carded a 74 in the first round, began the second day in seventh place, but was only three strokes out of the lead. He  earned six birdies during Sunday's round to register his 4-under par 68.

It was the first time Kukula has taken first place at a collegiate tournament.

"He played solid," Willamette Head Coach Noah Horstman said regarding Kukula. "He had six birdies today, and (even with a) double-bogey, still shot a 68. His putter was working. He birdied one-third of the holes."

Jesse Salzwedel from Whitworth University, who began the day in a three-way tie for fourth place at 73, shot a 70 over the final 18 holes and finished in second place at 143, one stroke behind Kukula. First round leader Dustin Hegge, who earned a 71 on Saturday, shot a 73 in the second round and took third place at 144.

Derek Wilson from the University of Puget Sound was fourth at 146 (72-74). Three golfers -- Adam Bean from Puget Sound, Stephen Plopper from Whitworth and Lyle Rudnicki of Whitworth -- tied for fifth place at 147. Bean shot 76-71 and Plopper carded 72-75. Rudnicki earned 80-67, as he recorded the lowest 18-hole score of the tournament in the second round.

Whitworth won the team title with a two-round score of 587 (301-286). Puget Sound was second at 606 (302-304), while Pacific Lutheran University placed third one stroke behind the Loggers at 607 (309-298). Linfield College (318-295) and Whitman College (320-293) tied for fourth place at 613.

Willamette took sixth place at 624. The Bearcats shot 326 in challenging weather conditions during the first round and improved to 298 in the second round. The lower team score enabled the Bearcats to pass George Fox University in the final standings, even though the Bruins were 11 strokes in front of WU at the start of the second round.

George Fox finished in seventh place at 629 (315-314). Lewis & Clark College was eighth at 670 (333-337) and Pacific University was ninth at 681 (337-344).

Kukula led a great second round for the Bearcats, as four of the golfers carded scores in the 70s and all five registered an 80 or lower. Jonathan Ross (So., Tukwila, WA/Foster HS) tied for 17th overall at 154 (78-76). His 76 in the second round tied for Ross' career-best round. Jeffrey Lewis (So., Eugene, OR/Sheldon HS) finished at 162 (85-77).

Jacob Simonson (Jr., Fairview, OR/Reynolds HS) earned a score of 169 (89-80). Evan Fleming (Fr., Park City, UT/Park City HS) recorded the most improvement from the first round to the second round for the Bearcats, as he went from a 94 in the opening round to a 77 over the final 18 holes. His overall score was 171.

The NWC Fall Classic counts for one-fourth of the overall NWC team championship. The NWC Spring Classic counts for another quarter of the title, while the NWC Championship tournament provides the final one-half of the overall standings.


NWC Fall Classic
October 27-28, 2012
Tri-Mountain Golf Course
Ridgefield, Wash.

Ryan Kukula shot a 68 in the second round to win the NWC Fall Classic with a 36-hole score of 142.

Ryan Kukula shot a 68 in the second round to win the NWC Fall Classic with a 36-hole score of 142.