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Saint Martin's senior Tyler Fitchett leads the conference with a 73.0 stroke average and earned GNAC Player of the Week honors after he tied for seventh place at the Mustang Intercollegiate.
Saint Martin's senior Tyler Fitchett leads the conference with a 73.0 stroke average and earned GNAC Player of the Week honors after he tied for seventh place at the Mustang Intercollegiate.

Friday, April 16, 2021

DUPONT, Wash. – It what has been a season like no other, four conference teams are hungry to compete at the 2021 GNAC Men’s Golf Championships on April 19-20 at The Home Course in DuPont, Washington.

All four competing teams made an appearance in the latest NCAA Division II Men’s Golf West Region Rankings. Western Washington leads the pack at No. 2, followed by Saint Martin’s (No. 5), Northwest Nazarene (No. 7) and Montana State Billings (No. 8). The Vikings and Saints are also among others receiving votes in the latest Bushnell Golfweek Division II Coaches Poll.

The Vikings lead the conference with a 297.5 stroke average as they look to claim their 10th GNAC title and their fourth in the last five years. They have two top-five team finishes this spring, including a season-opening win at the Nighthawks Invitational on March 8-9 in Livermore, California.

Four GNAC Men’s Golf Players of the Week were named this season. Three of those awards went to WWU junior Aidan Thain. Thain leads the Vikings and is second in the conference with a 73.6 stroke average over 10 rounds. He will not be in the WWU lineup at the GNAC Championships but is expected to return if the Vikings advance to the NCAA postseason for a 22nd consecutive season.

Fellow juniors Brody Bonfilio and Devin Andrews will look to shine for the Vikings. The two are tied for third in the conference with 74.6 stroke averages. Andrews has one top-10 finish and has a low round of 4-under-par 68, which is a GNAC-best this season. Bonfilio earn medalist honors at the 2019 GNAC Championships.

Saint Martin’s will have a chance to win its first GNAC title in program history on its home course. The Saints led all GNAC teams with a second-place finish at their own Saint Martin’s Regional Preview on March 22-23 at The Home Course. They are second in the conference with a 300.6 stroke average.

Senior Tyler Fitchett enters the GNAC Championships with the conference’s top stroke average at 73 over 10 rounds. He has four rounds of par or better and owns a low round of 3-under-par 69. Fitchett was named the GNAC Men’s Golf Player of the Week on Monday after he tied for seventh place at the Mustang Intercollegiate on April 5-6 in Goodyear, Arizona, with a three-round score of 4-under-par 212. He also tied for seventh at the Saint Martin’s Regional Preview at 1-over-par 145.

Junior Max Turnquist is also having a solid year for the Saints. He is tied for eighth in the conference with a 75.4 stroke average over 10 rounds. Turnquist has one top-10 finish as he also tied for seventh place at the Saint Martin’s Regional Preview.

Northwest Nazarene owns a 305.1 stroke average to rank third among conference teams. The Nighthawks’ season was highlighted by a seven-stroke victory at the Lewis-Clark State Warrior Spring Invitational on March 15-16 in Clarkston, Washington, winning with a two-round score of 600.

Four players finished in the top-10 for NNU at the LC State Spring Invitational, led by senior Isaac Emerson, who placed second at 3-over-par 147. Emerson is fifth in the conference with a 74.9 stroke average over nine rounds with two rounds of par or better. His second top-10 finish of the season was a tie for eighth at the Nighthawks Invitational at 7-over-par 151.

Sophomore Grayson Giboney is also among the GNAC leaders in stroke average as he is tied for eighth at 75.4 over nine rounds with a low round of 2-under-par 70. Giboney finished just behind Emerson at the LC State Spring Invitational, placing third at 4-over-par 148.

Montana State Billings rounds out the competing teams at the GNAC Championships, entering the tournament with a 306 stroke average. The Yellowjackets are coming off a win at the Hardrocker Classic on Monday and Tuesday in Rapid City, South Dakota, winning with a two-round score of 607.

Senior Garrett Woodin and freshman Kevin Kolb look to keep the Yellowjackets’ momentum going. Woodin is seventh in the conference with a 75.3 stroke average over 12 rounds. He has a pair of top-10 finishes, led by a second-place finish at the Hardrocker Classic at 8-over-par 150. Kolb earned medalist honors at the Hardrocker Classic at 6-over-par 148. He enters the GNAC Championships with a 76.3 stroke average.

The GNAC Championships begin Monday at 7:30 a.m., with the second round commencing around 1 p.m. The third round takes place Tuesday, beginning at 7:30 a.m. The winning team will receive the GNAC’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championships.

As per GNAC policy, spectators will not be allowed at the GNAC Golf Championships. The live leaderboard can be accessed at GNACSports.com.

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