BELLINGHAM, Wash. - If success experienced this summer by members of the Western Washington University men's golf team translates to the 2014-15 season, expect the Vikings to be much improved.
Senior Mark Strickland (Mukilteo/Kamiak) competed in the U.S. Amateur Championship held at the Atlanta Athletic Club Highlands Course in mid-August after taking medalist honors in a 36-hole qualifier.
Strickland and sophomore Chris Hatch (Mukilteo/Kamiak) then qualified for the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championships at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., after they won by three strokes at 8-under par 64 on Aug. 29.
And freshman Joe Fryer (Mukilteo/Kamiak), who attended the Lee Westwood Golf School in England the last two years, won the Seattle Amateur at 12-under with Strickland tying for fifth and Hatch tying for eighth.
"I watched (Joe) play a few holes of the second round," said coach Luke Bennett of Fryer, "and I was very impressed with his maturity, poise and control in every area of his game. He's going to fit in great with our team."
Bennett is in his second season as coach after handling the duties on an interim basis last year as Steve Card ended 20 years directing the program and made the transition to WWU director of athletics.
"With a successful summer under our belts, I look forward to continuing the momentum into the fall season," Bennett said.
Hatch was a first-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-star last year with a team-best scoring average of 75.0 on a squad the placed 10th at the South Central/West Regional and did not qualify for the NCAA Division II National Championships after being a national semifinalist in 2013. The Vikings also had a six-year string of Great Northwest Athletic Conference titles snapped with a fourth-place finish.
Another first-team all-conference player back for the Vikings is senior Kyle Schrader (Olympia/Tumwater), who averaged 75.7 strokes. Schrader was the South Central/West Regional medalist as a junior when he earned Golf Coaches Association of America All-America honorable mention.
Strickland was a second-team GNAC all-star last year after earning first-team recognition the previous season.
In all, eight letter winners return. Besides, Hatch, Schrader and Strickland, they include junior Jack Kelly (North Bend/Mount Si) and sophomores Anthony Allen(Arlington), Brennan Emory (Mount Vernon), David Fonua (Seattle/O'Dea), and Kyle Lindor (Woodinville).
Also back is redshirt freshman Willy Scholten (Lynden/Lynden Christian).
Besides Fryer, another solid recruit for WWU is freshman Brian Moon (Mukilteo/Kamiak), who tied for 13th at the Class 4A state tournament last spring.
WWU opens its season on Sept. 19-20 at the Saint Martin's Invitational. The Vikings host their 43rd annual tournament on Sept. 22-23 at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club.
Men's Golf Finishes 11th at Otter Invitational
Adam Barker ties for 7th place in 104-player field at 1-under-par 215
Vikings in 10th at Otter Invitational With Play Suspended
Second round of 36-hole first day of tournament suspended due to darkness and will resume Tuesday
Vikings Finish 4th at Concordia Invitational
Cody Roth (3rd), Ethan Casto (T4th) and Brody Bonfilio (T4th) lead Vikings with top 5 finishes
Men's Golf in 3rd Place at Concordia Invitational
Freshman Brody Bonfilio (T3rd), Sophomore Ethan Casto (T7th) and junior Cody Roth (T7th) in top 10
Vikings Tie for 6th at 46th Annual WWU Invitational
Freshman Brody Bonfilio places 6th in 93-player field with 3-under-par tournament total
Vikings Tied for 7th After First Day of WWU Invite
Michael Butler and Brody Bonfilio tied for 8th in strong tournament field
Vikings Open Season with Victory at SMU Invite
WWU men's golf opens season with 5-stoke victory in 13-team tournament
Vikings Hold Lead at Saint Martin's Golf Invitational
Junior Michael Butler is tied for 2nd place with two-round total of 3-under-par 139
Men's Golf Opens 2017-18 Season This Weekend
Vikings start busy week with two tournaments in five-day span in Olympia and Bellingham
Men's Golf Ranked No. 24 in Preseason Coaches Poll
Vikings looking to build off consecutive GNAC Championships and 16th-place finish at NCAA Championships
Jake Koppenberg Qualifies for U.S. Amateur
Former Viking All-American to play in prestigious U.S. Amateur August 14-20 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Men's Golf Finishes 16th at NCAA II Championships
Senior Jeffrey Marcum and Freshman Ethan Casto tie for 57th in 108-player field
Men's Golf Slips to 17th at NCAA Championships
WWU men's golf moved up to as high as 8th place, but had a tough finish to finish the 2nd round in 17th place
Men's Golf Senior Trio Named All- West Region
Chris Hatch, Brett Johnson and Jeffrey Marcum earn Division II PING All-West Region honors
Men's Golf in 12th Place at NCAA Championships
Senior Brett Johnson has WWU in the hunt after carding even-par 70 in first round