WWU Claims 3rd Place in NCAA Men's Golf Championships
From left are head coach Steve Card, Kyle Schrader, Dale Goodwin, Evan Needham, Mark Strickland, Jake Webb and assistant coach Luke Bennett.
From left are head coach Steve Card, Kyle Schrader, Dale Goodwin, Evan Needham, Mark Strickland, Jake Webb and assistant coach Luke Bennett.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

HERSHEY, Pa. - Posting its highest team and individual finishes in 15 years as a NCAA member, Western Washington had its season end with a 4-1 loss to Lynn, Fla., in NCAA Division II Men's National semifinals Thursday at the Hershey Country Club East Course.

The No. 8 seeded Vikings upset No.1 Florida Southern in Thursday morning's quarterfinals.  Each team won two of the five individual matches.  The fifth match ended in a draw. WWU advanced via the first tiebreaker, which was aggregate score (375-380) of all five players.

“It was exciting to knock off the No.1 seed and get into the national semifinals,” said WWU head coach Steve Card, who is leaving his coaching position after 20 seasons to concentrate on his new duties as interim director of athletics for the 2013-14 school year.

“It’s been a great week, an historic week, for Western men’s golf.”

Keying the Vikings’ win over Florida Southern was Jake Webb (Sr., Issaquah/Skyline), who defeated Tim Crouch by eight shots. On Wednesday, Crouch had beaten Webb and South Carolina Aiken’s Matt Atkins in a two-hole playoff to claim national medalist honors.

Webb, who shot a career and tournament-best 6-under par 65 on Wednesday, tied for second place in medalist play, the best-ever NCAA II national finish by a Viking. He moved up 14 places in the final round to force the playoff.

“Jake (Webb) finished his career in style,” Card said. “He not only had an outstanding tournament, but an outstanding season. He led by example.”

Evan Needham (Sr., Lynden/Meridian) had the Vikings’ best play overall Thursday, notching their only point against No.4 seed Lynn and earning the critical draw against Florida Southern.

Webb and Kyle Schrader (So., Olympia/Tumwater) each split a pair of matches for WWU, and Dylan Goodwin (Sr., Mukilteo/Kamiak) and Mark Strickland (So., Mukilteo/Kamiak) both dropped a pair.

Lynn advances to the national final Friday against No. 2 seed Barry, which defeated No.3 Nova Southeastern 2-2-1 (won by two strokes in aggregate score).

WWU’s tie for third place bettered its previous best NCAA II finish of sixth in 2000. The Vikings were the only non-Florida school in the Final Four.

Florida Southern won the medal portion of the tournament to determine the top eight. On Wednesday, the Moccasins shot a final round 280, the best of the tournament, to take top honors with a 54-hole total of 867.

WWU was able to move up five places to tie for seventh at 898. The Vikings were tied for fourth after Monday’s opening round and dropped into a tie for 12th in the 20-team field following play Tuesday.

Nova Southeastern entered the tournament ranked No.1 in the final Golf Coaches Athletic Association Top 25 Poll, with Barry No.2 and WWU No. 6.

Western Washington 2, Florida Southern 2 (1 draw):  Jake Webb (WWU) d. Tim Crouch (FSU), 73-79; Case Gard (FSU) d. Kyle Schrader (WWU), 76-79; Dylan Goodwin (WWU) d. Austin Schultz (FSU) 73-76; Evan Needham (WWU) drew with Shane Convery (FSU) 74-74; Peter Creighton (FSU) d. Mark Strickland (WWU) 75-76. (Note: WWU advances on fewest strokes, 375-380).

Barry 4, Western Washington 1:  Filip Timmerman (Lynn) d. Jake Webb (WWU) 76-79; Ernesto Vitienes (Lynn) d. Kyle Schrader (WWU) 75-77; Daniel Young (Lynn) d. Dylan Goodwin (WWU) 68-80;  Evan Needham (WWU) d. Robert Francioni (Lynn) 77-80; Jose Andres Miranda (Lynn) d. Mark Strickland (WWU) 77-78.