Vikings Begin Quest for NCAA II Championship

May 21, 2017

NCAA Championships Live Leaderboard | First Round Pairings

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
The Western Washington University men's golf team is one of 20 schools that will compete for the NCAA Division II Men's Golf National Championships beginning Monday at Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.

The Vikings advanced to their ninth national championships by tying for 3rd place at the NCAA II West/South Central Super Regional May 8-10 at Brookside Country Club in Stockton, California. WWU also has a streak of 19 consecutive seasons advancing to regional play, but this marks the first trip to the national championships since 2013.

"There are a lot of talented players and teams across from across the country that will be competing for the national championship," said head coach Luke Bennett, the GNAC Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017. "I'm excited to watch the Vikings compete against some of the very best. I am very proud of my guys this year. They've focused on one goal at a time and never gotten ahead of themselves. This year has truly been a team effort."

Western's five golfers that will compete in the tournament feature three seniors, one sophomore and one true freshman. The senior trio of Chris Hatch (Mukilteo, WA/Kamiak), Brett Johnson (Ridgefield, WA/Oregon State) and Jeffrey Marcum (Richland, WA/South Mountain CC) have been mainstays in the lineup over the last two seasons that have resulted in back-to-back Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships. All three players were First Team All-GNAC selections this year.

"It's been a personal goal of mine to do what I can as a coach to get these three seniors to Nationals," added Bennett. "They deserve to end their collegiate careers at this event, competing for the national championship. They have provided a ton of leadership to the rest of the team over the year and I couldn't be prouder of the three of them."

Sophomore Michael Butler (Sammamish, WA/Skyline) and freshman Ethan Casto (Snohomish, WA) round out WWU's starting five for the championships.

"I am really excited for these players to experience the national championships," said Bennett, who competed three times in the NCAA Division II National Championships as a player for WWU. "They were unbelievable experiences, ones I'll never forget as a player. I am thrilled my guys have made it (they've earned it). They all have had this as their main goal, it's wonderful to see their hard work pay off."

The Lineup:

  • Brett Johnson (Sr., Ridgefield, WA) - First Team All-GNAC, team-high 15 rounds of par or better during senior season...finished tied for 6th at the NCAA II West/South Central Super Regionals with three-round total of 10-under-par 206 (70-67-69).
  • Chris Hatch (Sr., Mukilteo, WA) - First Team All-GNAC...finished 2nd at GNAC Championships with 3-under-par 210 in 54-hole tournament...tied for 15th at super regional (-5, 211)...team-low scoring average of 72.37 (+0.67 to par) in 10 tournaments this season...four-time All-GNAC selection.
  • Jeffrey Marcum (Sr., Richland, WA) - First Team All-GNAC, top 10 in all 5 spring regular-season tournaments...ranks second on the team with a scoring average of 73.06 (+1.32 to par)...12 rounds of par or better...
  • Michael Butler (So., Sammamish, WA) - 74.53 scoring average (+2.88 to par)...finished 20th at GNAC Championships...T31st at NCAA II Super Regional with 2-under-par 214 in the 54-hole tournament...5 rounds of par or better this season.
  • Ethan Casto (Fr., Snohomish, WA) - Will be playing in 5th tournament this season, first since the Cal Baptist Invitational March 20-21...season scoring average of 77.0 in 11 rounds (+5.00 relative to par)...tied for 13th place at the spring-opening Visit Stockton Cactus Thaw! with a 36-hole score of 3-under-par 141.

The Course:
The Championships will be played on the Tom Watson designed course at Reunion Resort...the championships configuration of the course will play to 7,054 yards and a par 70 layout...described as a demanding a well thought out approach from every player regardless of skill level, this course puts a premium on a solid short game with spacious green complexes where club selection can vary from putter to lob wedge to three-wood...named by Golfweek as one of the best resort golf courses in the nation...part of a 54-hole resort with courses designed by golf legends Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.

Championships Format:
At the championships, 20 teams and eight individuals will complete 54 holes of stroke play, with 18 holes played Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday...following 54 holes of stroke play, an individual champion will be declared along with finishers 2-10...the top eight teams after 54 holes of play will be placed into a bracket and seeded based on 54-hole scores...the pairings for the quarterfinals will be Seed #1 versus Seed #8, Seed #2 versus Seed #7, Seed #3 versus Seed #6 and Seed #4 versus Seed #5 competing in medal/match play (stroke play over 18 holes and low score wins)...each team match will consist of five points with one point being awarded for each individual match...winning teams will advance to the semifinals and subsequently the finals...each individual match will be played to its completion and the first team to win three points within the team match will advance, or in the case of the final match be declared the national champion...in the event that a team match is tied after all five individual matches, the total strokes of the five players from each team will be calculated with the winning team having the fewest strokes...if still tied, a sudden death playoff will occur with all five scores counting from each team to determine the advancing team. Lineups, for pairing purposes, in the medal/match play portion of the championship will be determined by the head coaches, using a "Presidents Cup" style to determine the lineups beginning with the higher seeded team, as determined through the 54-hole stroke play portion of the championship.

NCAA History:
This marks the Vikings 9th trip to the NCAA Division II Championships since making the move up from NAIA in 1999...here is a look at previous finishes in the national championships:

  • 1999 (11th)
  • 2000 (T6th)
  • 2003 (11th)
  • 2004 (9th)
  • 2005 (9th)
  • 2008 (T8th)
  • 2012 (9th)
  • 2013 (Reached Semifinals in Match Play)

How to Follow:

The NCAA Division II Championships is being co-hosted by the Sunshine State Conference and the Central Florida Sports Commission...you can follow the tournament via live results on Golfstat...here are pairings for the first and second round of the tournament, with the third round being reseeded following Tuesday's second round.

Follow the Leader:

The men's golf team is one of eight Western Washington University varsity athletic programs (out of 15) that have advanced to the NCAA Division II Championships in its respective sport this season...joins women's soccer (national champions), men's soccer, volleyball, women's rowing, men's basketball, women's basketball and softball...four additional sports have had individual representation with qualifying marks for the national championships (men's cross country, women's golf, women's indoor track & field, women's outdoor track & field).

Here is a look at the season stats from the 2016-17 WWU Men's Golf team:

2016-17 WWU MEN'S GOLF - SCORING AVERAGE

 

 

No

No

Avg.

Vs.

Low

In

Par or

Finish

Best

Name

Yr

Tour

Rds.

Score

Par

Rd.

60s

better

Pct.

Finish

Chris Hatch*

Sr.

10

27.0

72.37

+0.67

67

3

13

79.9%

 0

Jeffrey Marcum* 

Sr.

11

31.0

73.06

+1.32

68

3

12

72.8%

 0

Brett Johnson*

Sr.

11

31.0

73.35

+1.61

67

5

15

74.6%

 0

Michael Butler*  

So.

 6

17.0

74.53

+2.88

67

2

 5

52.9%

 0

Ezra Arneson   

Fr.

 4

11.0

74.82

+3.00

65

1

 4

60.6%

 0

Nick Sparling  

So.

 1

 2.0

75.50

+3.50

72

0

 1

25.4%

 0

Adam Barker   

Jr.

 2

 6.0

76.00

+4.00

72

0

 1

51.3%

 0

Willy Scholten  

Jr.

 2

 6.0

75.50

+4.00

72

0

 1

38.3%

 0

Cody Roth    

So.

 4

11.0

75.64

+4.09

73

0

 0

29.9%

 0

Ethan Casto*   

Fr.

 4

11.0

77.00

+5.00

68

1

 2

50.1%

 0

Jack Shea    

Fr.

 3

 9.0

77.22

+5.22

74

0

 0

24.9%

 0

* Part of WWU's lineup for the NCAA Division II Championships

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