BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Western Washington University men’s golf team is making its 20th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships, with play opening in the West/South Central Super Regional on Monday at Tascosa Golf Club in Amarillo, Texas.
The Vikings are the No. 8 seed in the West Region and will start teeing off Monday morning at 7:30 am CT on the par 71, 6,805-yard La Paloma Course situated in the West Texas Panhandle.
“I think the guys are ready for the postseason and really looking forward to competing against the best teams in our region,” said WWU head coach Luke Bennett. “The goal is to play our best golf at the end of the season and I think we are doing exactly that. It is going to be a battle in Texas for sure, but I like how we are playing and I like the team mentality heading into the tournament.”
WWU’s lineup is led by Great Northwest Athletic Conference individual medalist Ethan Casto (So., Snohomish, WA) and GNAC Freshman of the Year Brody Bonfilio (Fr., Boise, ID/Bishop Kelly). Western’s lineup is rounded out by Cody Roth (Jr., Bellingham, WA), Adam Barker (Sr., Gig Harbor, WA/Peninsula/Olympic College) and Willy Scholten (Sr., Lynden, WA/Lynden Christian). Scholten, the team captain and fifth-year senior, joins the lineup for his first postseason appearance.
“My goal is to put our top five golfers out on the course who are playing the best at this time. Our whole team, all nine players, have battled all season in qualifying rounds and really pushed each other to get better,” added Bennett, who is in his 5th season leading the program after playing for the Vikings from 2002-06. “Along with the goal of putting out our top five in each event, it shows our depth and heart. The guys have worked hard and continue to work hard all season long. The guys that are back home are every bit as important as the guys traveling. I really appreciate everyone’s effort this season.”
The 54-hole tournament opens Monday with the Vikings starting to tee off the No. 10 hole at 7:30 am CT. The three-round tournament will feature 18 holes played each day, Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, with the top five teams advancing to the NCAA Championships Finals in Muscle Shoals, Alabama at The Shoals Golf Club – Fighting Joe Course.
“We haven’t played the course prior to Sunday’s practice round, but know we will be up against tough teams no matter where we are playing,” added Bennett on the links style course that is described as featuring dramatic elevation changes, natural rock outcroppings, native rough and several lakes. “It will be a different kind of golf, a fun kind of golf. I believe wind is the norm in West Texas, which will allow my guys to be creative and imaginative. As long as they trust their abilities and talents they’ll do great.”