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GNAC Men’s Golf Prepares For Final Regular Season Push
Northwest Nazarene will be the busiest team in conference during April as it competes in three tournaments ahead of the GNAC Championships later in the month.
Northwest Nazarene will be the busiest team in conference during April as it competes in three tournaments ahead of the GNAC Championships later in the month.

Friday, March 29, 2024
by Thomas Lal

PORTLAND, Ore. – A relatively quiet March on the course has paved the path for a busy schedule ahead of the GNAC Men’s Golf Championships as all five teams will be in action across three states during the final weeks of the regular season.

Western Washington played the most of any team in the GNAC over the last month but will have a chance to spend more time practicing in the lead-up to the conference championships as it plays just one more tournament before the postseason begins. It’s a similar story for reigning GNAC Champion Simon Fraser. After playing a pair of tournaments in March, the Red Leafs have just one on the docket in the first week of April before heading back to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Meanwhile, Montana State Billings, Northwest Nazarene and Saint Martin’s will all be in action for multiple tournaments this month as they finalize their preparation for the most important tournament of the year.

Upcoming Tournaments
Tournament
Teams
Dates
Settle U Redhawk Invitational Simon Fraser April 1-2
Hot Dirt Desert Shootout MSU Billings, Northwest Nazarene, Saint Martin's April 5-6
RJGA Palm Valley Classic MSU Billings, Northwest Nazarenne, Saint Martin's, Western Washington April 8-9
Nighthawk Challenge Northwest Nazarene April 12-13

 

This Week's Storylines

 

SEEING BLUE ON THE GREEN: Western Washington has been the busiest team in the conference over the last month, competing at three tournaments in California. The Vikings opened March by taking second place at the Nighthawk Invitational in Pleasanton, Calif., with a two-round score of 5-over-par 581. In a field of tight competition, the score put them one stroke ahead of third-place Cal State San Marcos and four ahead of fourth-place Sonoma State. Western Washington followed that up with a tie for fifth at the Tim Tierney Pioneer Shootout in Alameda, Calif., carding a three-round score of 2-over-par 866, among a field of 17 teams. The Vikings capped off the month with a tie for 10th at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational in Turlock, Calif., courtesy of a three-round score of 879.

Junior Matteo Polla was the top golfer for WWU at two of the three events as he never finished lower than 22nd in the month of March. Polla carded a three-round score of 5-over-par 149 to start the California tour at the Nighthawk Invitational and tie for 22nd. He followed that up with two consecutive tournaments at par or better as he tied for 16th at the Tim Tierney Pioneer Shootout with a score of 2-under-par 214 and posted a score of even-par 216 at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational to tie for 20th. In Alameda, Polla showed strong improvement on the second day of the tournament, carding a 1-under-par 71 to start the day before shooting a season-low 3-under-par 69 to close out the event.

Freshman Braxton McDonald also enjoyed a strong showing in California that was highlighted by a tie for fourth place at the Nighthawk Invitational. McDonald earned his first top-five finish of the season on the back of a season-low 3-under-par 69 to open the tournament. He closed out the event with a 2-over-par 74 to finish with a two-round score of 1-under-par 143. McDonald was joined by sophomore Peter Dionne-Yahr in the top 10 as he carded a two-round score of even-par 144 for his best result of the month. Junior Seth King made it three Vikings in the top 10 as he tied for ninth with a score of 1-over-par 145.

Western Washington will play just one more tournament ahead of the GNAC Championships as it contests the RJGA Palm Valley Classic in Goodyear, Ariz., on April 8-9 alongside the majority of conference programs.

GIBONEY GOES LOW: Northwest Nazarene was led by Grayson Giboney at both of its tournaments in March as the senior carded a two-round score of 1-under-par 143 to tie for fourth at the Nighthawk Invitational in Pleasanton, Calif., and followed that up with a 2-over-par 218 at the Tim Tierney Pioneer Shootout in Alameda, Calif., to tie for 33rd. Giboney’s efforts in Alameda were highlighted by a 7-under-par 65 in the second round, tying him for the single lowest round in program history. On the season, Giboney leads the Nighthawks and ranks eighth in the GNAC with an average of 73.7 strokes per round.

Behind Giboney’s leading performances, Northwest Nazarene took fifth place at the Nighthawk Invitational with a two-round score of 588 and finished 14th at the Pioneer Shootout with a three-round score of 891. Freshman Benjamin Mulder also enjoyed a strong outing at the Nighthawk Invitational, carding a score of 2-over-par 146, highlighted by a 1-under-par 71 on the final day, to finish in a tie for 11th. Fellow freshman Kasey Gaff made it three Nighthawks in the top 20 in Pleasanton by carding a two-round score of 2-over-par 146 to tie for 11th as a member of the NNU “B” squad.

Giboney was followed by fellow senior Cole Evarts at the Pioneer Shootout as the Star, Idaho, native carded a three-round score of 4-over-par 220 to tie for 38th in the 96-golfer field. Evarts’ low round of 1-under-par 71 was the second lowest for any player on the team.

Northwest Nazarene will be the busiest team in the conference in April as it plays three tournaments ahead of the GNAC Championships. The Nighthawks will begin their month at the Hot Dirt Desert Shootout in Goodyear, Ariz., on April 5-6 and will remain in Goodyear to compete in the RJGA Palm Valley Classic on April 8-9. Northwest Nazarene will cap off the 2023-24 regular season by hosting the Nighthawk Challenge in Nampa on April 12-13.

AT THE SHARP END: Simon Fraser’s Denby Carswell and Michael Crisologo have been the two most efficient golfers in the conference this season, both sitting atop the conference rankings with 72.2 strokes per round on average. The pair maintained that form as SFU took a pair of top-10 results in California to extend its run of consecutive top-10 finishes to 10. The Red Leafs opened the month place placing ninth at the Tim Tierney Pioneer Shootout in Alameda, Calif., with a three-round score of 5-over-par 869. They followed that up by leading the GNAC at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational in Turlock, Calif., with a three-round score of 3-over-par 867 to tie for seventh, just one stroke behind sixth-place Cal State San Marcos.

It was Crisologo who led the team in Alameda, carding a three-round score of 1-under-par 215 to take 20th in the 96-golfer field. Crisologo’s best round of the tournament came on the first day as he shot a team-low 2-under-par 70 to open the event. Carswell wasn’t far behind, just one stroke back with a score of even-par 216 to finish in a tie for 21st. The pair was followed by Ryan Hodgins in a tie for 38th with a score of 4-over-par 220 and Justin Bjornson with a 5-over-par 221 in a tie for 42nd.

It was Carswell’s turn to lead the charge at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational as he carded a three-round score of 6-under-par 210 to take seventh place. Carswell showed steady improvement across the tournament, opening the event with a 3-over-par 75 before carding a 3-under-par 69 through his second tour of the course to bring himself back to even-par overall. He saved his best for last, however, capping off his tournament with a 6-under-par 66 for the lowest round of any GNAC golfer at the event and delivering him his third top-10 result of the season. Crisologo followed Carswell in a tie for 20th with a score of even-par 216 while Brendan O’Brien and Bjornson finished in tied for 38th and 46th, respectively.

Simon Fraser has just one more tournament on the docket ahead of the GNAC Championships as it prepares for the Seattle U Redhawk Invitational on April 1-2 in University Place, Wash., on the Chambers Bay Golf Course.

TWO TO COME: Both Montana State Billings and Saint Martin’s competed at just one tournament in March as they took to the course in Turlock, Calif., for the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational. The Yellowjackets led the pair in a tie for 10th at the tournament alongside Western Washington with a three-round score of 879 while Saint Martin’s finished in 12th with a score of 894. Montana State Billings and Saint Martin’s will share the course two more times in the regular season as they both compete at the Hot Dirt Desert Shootout on April 5-6 in Goodyear, Ariz., and will remain in the Grand Canyon State for the RJGA Palm Valley Classic on April 8-9.

Liam O’Halloran led the way for MSUB in Turlock, carding a two-day score of 2-over-par 218 to tie for 26th. His tournament was highlighted by the ‘Jackets lowest round of the event, a 3-under-par 69, on his second trip through the course. O’Halloran also leads MSUB on the season with a 73.5 stroke average that ranks sixth in the conference. Lucas Howell followed O’Halloran in a tie for 32nd with a score of 4-over-par 220 after opening his tournament with a 2-under-par 70. Kevin Kolb and Paul O’Neil rounded out the top four for MSUB in ties for 46th and 58th, respectively.

The Saints’ efforts at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational were led by Max Turnquist with a three-round score of 3-over-par 291 that earned him a tie for 28th place. The senior from Yakima, Wash., carded a 3-under par 69 on his final trip through the course to record his and Saints Martin’s best round of the tournament. On the season, Turnquist leads SMU and checks in at No. 5 in the conference with an average of 73.4 strokes per round. Freshman Nick Ennis followed Turnquist in a tie for 38th courtesy of a 5-over-par 221 and a best round of 2-under-par 70. Carter Sheets and Kyle Erwin rounded out the top four for Saint Martin’s in tied for 65th and 67th, respectively.

Previous Tournament Results


Nighthawk Invitational (March 4-5, at Callippi Preserve GC, Pleasanton, Calif.) Team – 
1, Cal State East Bay, 572. 2, Western Washington, 581. 5, Northwest Nazarene, 588. 8, Northwest Nazarene “B”, 604. Individuals – 1, Patrick Jaksch, Cal State San Marcos, 137. T-4, Grayson Giboney, Northwest Nazarene, 143. T-4, Braxton McDonald, Western Washington, 143. 8, Peter Dionne-Yahr, Western Washington, 144. T-9, Seth King, Western Washington, 145. T-11, Benjamin Mulder, Northwest Nazarene, 146. T-17, Kasey Gaff, Northwest Nazarene “B”, 147.

Tim Tierney Pioneer Shootout (March 11-12, at Corica South GC, Alameda, Calif.) Team – 1, Western New Mexico, 836. T-5, Western Washington, 866. T-9, Simon Fraser, 869. 14, Northwest Nazarene, 891. Individuals – 1, Shion Suzuki, Hawaii Pacific, 205. T-16, Matteo Polla, Western Washington, 214. 20, Michael Crisologo, Simon Fraser, 215. T-21, Denby Carswell, Simon Fraser, 216. T-25, Peter Dionne-Yahr, Western Washington, 217. T-33, Grayson Giboney, Northwest Nazarene, 218. T-33, Seth King, Western Washington, 218.

Hanny Stanislaus Invitational (March 25-26, at Turlock Golf & Country Club, Turlock, Calif.) Team – 1, Cal State Monterey Bay, 846. T-7, Simon Fraser, 867. T-10, Montana State Billings, 879. T-10, Western Washington, 879. 12, Saint Martin’s, 894. Individuals ­– 1, Tyler Ashman, Chico State, 205. 7. Denby Carswell, Simon Fraser, 210. T-20, Michael Crisologo, Simon Fraser, 216. T-20, Matteo Polla, Western Washington, 216. 25, Ryan Ho, Western Washington, 217. T-26, Liam O’Halloran, Montana State Billings, 218. T-28, Max Turnquist, Saint Martin’s, 219.

 

2023-24 GNAC Men's Golf Players of the Week
Date Player of the Week
Sept. 25 Max Turnquist, Saint Martin's
Oct. 2 Kasey Gaff, Northwest Nazarene
Oct. 9 Denby Carswell, Simon Fraser
Oct. 23 Deby Carswell, Simon Fraser
Oct. 30 Nathan Yocam, Western Washington
March 4 Lucas Howell, Montana State Billings
March 11 Grayson Giboney, Northwest Nazarene & Braxton McDonald, Western Washington
March 18 Matteo Polla, Western Washington


March 18 GNAC Men's Golf Player of the Week

Matteo Polla, Western Washington

First-career player of the week – first this season.

Polla was the conference’s top finisher at the Tim Tierney Pioneer shootout, carding a three-round score of 2-under-par 214 (74-71-69). That was good for a tie for 16th place among the field of 98 competitors, as he steadily improved across the three rounds to climb the leaderboard. Polla’s 3-under-par 69 in his final round was his lowest of the season, and he picked up two of his four rounds at par or better in 2023-24 at the event.

Also Nominated: Grayson Giboney, NNU; Michael Crisologo, SFU.

 

2024 GNAC Men's Golf Championships


The 2024 GNAC Men's Golf Championships will be held April 22-23 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. All five programs will compete in the three-round tournament with the team champion receiving the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.

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