Men's Golf Championship Preview
WWU's Chris Hatch was named the GNAC Golfer of the Week after his 71 in the second round of the Hanny Stanislaus Invite.
WWU's Chris Hatch was named the GNAC Golfer of the Week after his 71 in the second round of the Hanny Stanislaus Invite.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Admission is free to the 2015 Men’s Golf Championship Presented by the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Parents and spectators will be allowed to rent golf carts from the Coeur d'Alene Resort for $20 per day if spectators wish to follow golfers. Live stats are also available in the 'Related Links' section on the right-side of the page.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The five conference men’s golf teams are headed to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Monday and Tuesday for the 2015 GNAC Golf Championship Presented by the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

The championship will be held at the par 71 Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course for the seventh-straight year. The 200-acre course features some of the best views in the Pacific Northwest, highlighted by the floating green on the 14th hole.

The 25 men’s competitors at the championship will begin at hole No. 1 Monday at 7:30 a.m. The groups of four will play 36 holes on Monday and finish the 18-hole third round Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Heading into Monday and Tuesday’s championship, Simon Fraser holds the low-round average for the GNAC at 290.1 strokes per round. The 10th-ranked team in Division II features five of the top 10 golfers in the GNAC.

Leading the conference in low-round average is the Clan's Kevin Vigna. The sophomore swings 71.8 times per round, which also ranks ninth nationally. Vigna, who has four top 10 finishes this season, was the individual winner at the GNAC championship last year shooting an even 213 in the three-round tournament.

SFU's Chris Crisologo is the No. 2 golfer in the conference, averaging 72.4 strokes each round. Upperclassmen Bret Thompson and John Mlikotic, respectively, are the GNAC’s fourth and fifth most proficient players both averaging less than 74 shots per round. All four Clan golfers also rank in the top 100 nationally with their sub-74 averages.

Although the Clan statistically has four of the top five golfers in the conference, the field is still laden with talent. A few of these competitors include Montana State Billings senior Jake Hedge and Western Washington’s Chris Hatch, who are both more than capable of winning the GNAC individual title.

Hedge ranked as high as sixth in Division II this season in low-round average. Currently, the senior has the third lowest-round average in the GNAC at 73.1, ranking 48th nationally. He won the MSUB Yellowjacket Spring Invite a few weeks ago while having two other top 10 finishes on the year.

Hatch, a sophomore, finished in the top five in last season’s tournament. He’s built on his success this year having three top-five finishes to go along with his 74.1 average. Hatch also has the lowest round recorded in the GNAC this season at 66, sharing that mark with teammate Mark Strickland.

The Vikings and the Yellowjackets as a team have the second and third lowest average rounds in the GNAC at 297.4 and 297.7 strokes respectively.

Saint Martin’s and Northwest Nazarene may not have the best averages in the GNAC this season, but are two experienced teams that will threaten to take the conference title. Both teams answered the call at this event last season as SMU and NNU tied for first at the end of the tournament, forcing a playoff to determine the overall GNAC champion. The Crusaders pulled out the win with help from Connor Magnuson, who eagled a par 5 in the first playoff hole. 

Magnuson was a top-five finisher in the 2014 event. He also added another top-five finish to his name this season. The Crusaders Keynan Fanslow is one of the five GNAC golfers to win an invitational this season, the NNU Intercollegiate, as he tied a school-record shooting a 67 in the final round.

The Saints had two top-five finishers in the championship last season in Ryan Baumgart, who tied for second, and Austin Spicer, who tied for fourth. Baumgart, along with Matt Hedges, rank among the top 10 golfers in the GNAC this season. Hedge and Spicer claim four top-10 performances between the two of them this year.

Hatch Claims Golfer of the Week at Hanny Stanislaus Invitational

Western Washington’s Chris Hatch finished his regular-season well with a GNAC Golfer of the Week performance at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational Monday and Tuesday at the Turlock Golf and Country Club in California.

Hatch carded a 1-under in the second round to finish at 229, tying for 25th. The tournament featured 94 players and seven top-50 teams.

The Saints Patrick Whealdon finished one-stroke behind Hatch, tying for 30th with a final score of 230. As a team, SMU was the top GNAC finisher, tying for 11th, while WWU, Montana State Billings and Northwest Nazarene finished in 14th, 15th and 16th respectively. 

GNAC TOP 100 GOLFERS (Golfstat) - 9. Kevin Vigna, SFU (71.83); T25. Chris Crisologo, SFU (72.43); Jake Hedge, MSUB (73.05); Bret Thompson, SFU (73.10); John Mlikotic, SFU (73.52).

NCAA WEST REGION RANKINGS - 1. Cal State Monterey Bay; 2. Chico State; 3. Simon Fraser; 4. Dixie State; 5. Sonoma State; 6. Cal State East Bay; 7. Dominican (CA); 8. Cal State Stanislaus; 9. Cal State San Bernardino; 10. Western Washington.