WWU wins 41st Annual Viking Invitational by 17 strokes
Sept. 25, 2012
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Western Washington University's Mark Strickland (So., Mukilteo/Kamiak) took medalist honors by one stroke, leading the Vikings to a 17-stroke victory at the 41st Annual WWU Invitational Men's Golf Tournament which ended Tuesday at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club.
The Vikings, ranked No.9 in the Golf World/Nike Golf/NCAA Division II College Coaches Association of America Top 25 Preseason Poll, shot an 8-under par 280, the best round of the tourney, for a 54-hole total of 848.
"It was a good tournament for us," said WWU coach Steve Card (20th year). "The guys played very solid from start to finish and we put together another under par round.
"We've got a lot of depth and I think that showed, and the guys are playing good golf right now. I'm happy to win this event."
British Columbia moved up one spot to second at 865 (285), two strokes ahead of third-place Hawaii Hilo at 867 (289) in the 12-team field.
Strickland, who trailed by two strokes after Monday's 36 holes, fired a 3-under 69 to finish at 7-under 209. Strickland's opening round of 5-under 67 was the best of the event.
"He's a bulldog," Card said of Strickland. "He smelled that opportunity and had solid play down the stretch. I think he's really enjoying that fact that he's won his first collegiate event."
Tied for second at 210 were British Columbia's Josh Zhang (68) and Grand Canyon's Mark Geddes (69).
Finishing sixth at 4-under 212 (74) was first-day leader Corey Kozuma from Hawaii Hilo, who ended the second round by recording a hole-in-one on the par three 18th hole.
The win snapped a five-year string without a title for WWU at its own tournament. The Vikings had tied for second in each of the last two years.
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