Golden State Golfing On The Docket For Men’s Golf Teams
Western Washington will begin its spring schedule in California on Monday as it competes in the NNU Nighthawk Invitational in Pleasanton. | Photo By Matteo Polla
Western Washington will begin its spring schedule in California on Monday as it competes in the NNU Nighthawk Invitational in Pleasanton. | Photo By Matteo Polla

Friday, March 1, 2024
by Thomas Lal

PORTLAND, Ore. – The winter weather has finally started to relent, giving way to the start of the spring GNAC men’s golf schedule as three of the five programs took to the course in February.

This month sees all five teams on the course as they look forward to the GNAC Men’s Golf Championships in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at the end of April. Defending GNAC Champion Simon Fraser notched the best team result of the spring so far with a seventh place at the Cal State San Marcos Fujikura Invitational while Montana State Billings and Saint Martin’s both took part in the Battle In The Desert earlier this week. The next month will see teams take part in three tournaments across California.

This Week's Storylines

Simon Fraser opened its spring campaign by taking seventh place at the CSUSM Fujikura Invitational on Feb. 12-13 with a team score of 880 at the Shadowridge Country Club in Vista, Calif., and defeating Fraser Valley head-to-head medal play on last Sunday in British Columbia. Michael Crisologo led SFU in California, carding a three-round score of 2-under-par 214 to tie for sixth.

The Red Leafs’ competition against Fraser Valley was originally scheduled to take place across two days and locations, but frost and below-freezing temperatures forced the cancelation of play on Monday. The Red Leafs won the truncated event by a score of 5-2, picking up wins from Crisologo, Kyle Mayner, Brendan O’Brien, Justin Bjornson and Ryan Hodgins at the Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, B.C. Bjornson, a freshman from Surrey, B.C., carded the lowest round of the competition for SFU with an even-par 72. Hodgins and Crisologo followed Bjornson with scores of 1-over-par 73 and 2-over-par 74, respectively.

The Red Leafs will be back in action next at the Tim Tierney Shootout on March 11-12 at the Corica Park Golf Course in Alameda, Calif., for the first of two more California tournaments this spring. Simon Fraser has been the most efficient team on the course this season, averaging 291.5 strokes per round as a team to lead the conference. The reigning GNAC Champions are led by Crisologo who leads the conference individually with a 72.4 average through 15 rounds.

DESERT DUELING: Montana State Billings and Saint Martin’s both opened their spring schedules at the Battle In The Desert in Borrego Springs, Calif., from Feb. 26-28. The three-round tournament took place at the Rams Hill Golf Club with MSUB leading the way for the GNAC with a score of 902 to take 13th place. The Saints were just eight strokes behind in 15th with a three-round score of 910.

Senior Lucas Howell led the way for the Yellowjackets and the GNAC at the tournament, carding a tournament-low round of 5-under-par 67 in the final round en route to tying for fifth place in the 80-player field. Howell finished the tournament with a three-round score of 3-under-par 213 and shot for par or better in two of the three rounds on the way to his second top-five finish of the season. Fellow senior Paul O’Neil followed Howell in a tie for 33rd as he carded a three-day score of 8-over-par 224 with a low round of even-par-72 on day one. Montana State Billings will be on the course next at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational in Turlock, Calif., on March 25-26.

The Saints were led by senior Max Turnquist in a tie for 25th with a three-round score of 6-over-par 222. Turnquist put in his best round on the final day, carding a 1-under-par 71 to close out the tournament. That wasn’t the best round of the tournament for the SMU though as that honor went to freshman Nick Ennis with a 3-under-par 69 to close out the tournament. Ennis finished his tournament with a three-round score of 10-over-par 226 to tie for 46th place. The Saints will also have most of March off from competition before playing in the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational.

FLYING SOUTH FOR SPRING: Northwest Nazarene and Western Washington will both be in Pleasanton, Calif., next week as NNU hosts the Nighthawk Invitational at the Callippe Preserve Golf Course. It will be the first action of the spring for both teams after last competing at the Dennis Rose Invitational in Waimea, Hawaii on Oct. 27-28, 2023. Through the fall schedule, WWU ranks No. 3 in the GNAC with 295.5 strokes per round on average while NNU is No. 5 with 297.5 strokes on average.

The Vikings have been led by freshman Nathan Yocam this season. Through the first eight rounds of his debut campaign, Yocam has picked up one top-five finish and ranks third in the conference with 72.6 strokes per round on average. Juniors Seth King and Ryan Ho also rank among GNAC’s most efficient golfers this season, checking in at No. 6 (73.4 strokes per round) and No. 8 (73.7 strokes per round), respectively.

The Nighthawks’ fall effort was led by senior Grayson Gibboney. The Mukilteo, Wash., native has compiled a 74.4 stroke average through 11 rounds this season to rank 14th in the conference. Freshman Lucas Rynearson hasn’t been far behind Gibboney and is averaging 74.6 strokes per round to rank second on the team through the first four tournaments of his collegiate career. Fellow freshman Kasey Gaff notched the lone top-three result for NNU this season at the Western Washington Invitational on Sept. 25-26, 2023 where he took second place with a score of 3-under-par 213.

Previous Tournament Results

Dennis Rose Invitational (Oct. 27-28 at Hapuna Golf Course, Waimea, Hawaii) Team – 
1, UT Permian Basin, 557. 9, Saint Martin’s, 589. T-10, Western Washington, 590. 16, Northwest Nazarene, 615. Individuals – 1, Sangha Park, UT Permian Basin, 134. T-20, Nathan Yocam, Western Washington, 144. T-33, Peter Dionne-Yahr, Western Washington, 147. T-33, Nick Ennis, Saint Martin’s, 147. T-33, Kyle Irwin, Saint Martin’s, 147. T-39, Chase Gardner, Saint Martin’s, 148. T-39, Max Turnquist, Saint Martin’s, 148. T-42, Lucas Rynearson, Northwest Nazarene, 149. T-46, Grayson Gibboney, Northwest Nazarene, 150.

CSUSM Fujikura Invitational (Feb. 12-13, at Shadowridge CC, Vista, Calif.) Team – 1, Cal State East Bay, 859. 7, Simon Fraser, 880. Individuals – 1, Chris Chomyn, Stanislaus State, 209. T-6, Michael Crisologo, Simon Fraser, 214. T-23, Justin Bjornson, Simon Fraser, 220. T-43, Denby Carswell, Simon Fraser, 226. T-43, Ryan Hodgins, Simon Fraser, 226. T-49, Logan Boucher, Simon Fraser, 229.

Battle In The Desert (Feb. 26-28, at Ram Hill Golf Club, Borrego Springs, Calif.) Team – 1, Florida Southern, 867. 13, Montana State Billings, 902. 15, Saint Martin’s, 910. Individuals ­– T-1, Simon Bjorken, Cal State Monterey Bay, 211. T-1, Mateo Quiroga, Georgia Southwestern, 211. T-5, Lucas Howell, Montana State Billings, 213. T-25, Max Turnquist, Saint Martin’s, 222. T-33, Paul O’Neil, Montana State Billings, 224. T-46, Nick Ennis, Saint Martin’s, 226. T-55, Kyle Erwin, Saint Martin’s, 229. T-55, Carson Garner, Montana State Billings, 229.

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

Oct. 30 GNAC Men's Golf Player of the Week

Nathan Yocam, Western Washington

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

Yocam was the top GNAC men’s finisher at the Dennis Rose Invitational, checking in with an even-par 144 (71-73). The tie for 20th place came after he tied for 39th at the Hawaii Pacific Sharks Shootout with a three-round score of 7-over-par 223 (75-75-73). Yocam’s 1-under-par 71 in his first round of the Dennis Rose Invitational marked the third time this season he made par or better in a round. The freshman ranks fourth in the GNAC with a scoring average of 72.6 strokes per round.

Also Nominated: Kyle Erwin, SMU.

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.