Golf Champs WWU & SFU Named GNAC Teams Of The Week
Simon Fraser women's golf swept the GNAC Women's Golf Championships for a second year in a row en route to earning GNAC Team of the Week honors alongside men's champion Western Washington.
Simon Fraser women's golf swept the GNAC Women's Golf Championships for a second year in a row en route to earning GNAC Team of the Week honors alongside men's champion Western Washington.

Monday, April 29, 2024
by Thomas Lal

PORTLAND, Ore.  –  After winning their respective conference championships in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho last Tuesday, Western Washington men’s golf and Simon Fraser women’s golf have also earned GNAC Team of the Week honors.

Western Washington claimed its conference-record 11th men’s golf title as it finished with a three-round score of 14-under-par 838 (273-287-278). After three tours of the par-71, 6,447-yard Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course, the Vikings finished eight strokes clear of the second-place Simon Fraser men. The Vikings’ two-day score was just one short of the GNAC Championships record set by SFU in 2015 and matched by WWU in 2016.

“It was a great couple days across the board, and everybody contributed,” Western Washington head coach Luke Bennett said following the win. “It was so bunched up starting today, and knowing that we had some great senior leadership – the upperclassmen stepped up big time. We have had a bunch of different lineups this season, and our team is really deep. Up until this point we hadn’t shown what we can do. The guys had a great week of prep, they came in with some confidence, and they backed it up every day. I couldn’t be any happier for them.”

The Vikings’ individual effort was led by junior Ryan Ho with a three-round score of 6-under-par 207. Ho’s two-day effort was highlighted by a GNAC Championships-record 9-under-par 62 that also tied the single-best round in conference history set by WWU’s Jake Koppenberg in 2007. The score was just one shy of the course record of 10-under par 61 set by former PGA Tour professional John Cook in 1992. Ho’s record-setting round included 11 of the 14 birdies he notched across the tournament.

Sophomore Peter Dionne-Yahr finished right behind Ho in fourth place with a two-day score of 5-under-par 208. Dionne-Yahr also played his best round of the tournament on the opening day, carding a 4-under-par 67 to start his championships effort. Junior Seth King made it three WWU golfers in the top 10 as he finished in a three-way tie for sixth place with a score of 3-under-par 210. Western Washington’s effort also included a hole-in-one by junior Matteo Polla on the par-3 hole six on his first trip through the course en route to finishing the tournament in a tie for 12th with a three-round score of 3-over-par 216.

On the women’s side of the tournament, Simon Fraser swept the team and individual championships for a second consecutive year. As a team, the Red Leafs were dominant placing all five of the team’s golfers in the top six and finishing with a two-round score of 569 (298-298) that was 14 strokes clear of second-place Western Washington. Simon Fraser’s score on the par-72, 5,801-yard course broke the GNAC Championships record of 609 set by the Red Leafs just last year. The conference title is SFU’s fifth in program history and the team’s third across the last five GNAC Championships.

“It’s such an incredible moment for the team, and this is the tournament that we look forward to all year,” said SFU head coach Matthew Steinbach. “We are in a really tough west region, and winning the GNAC to get the AQ spot is really important. We had our sights set on that this week, and I am so proud of them for pulling through.”

The Red Leafs were led by individual medalist Dana Smith with a two-round score of 2-under-par 142 as the freshman from Burnaby, B.C., was the only golfer in the field to not shoot a round over par. Smith’s two-round score also set a GNAC Championships record as she surpassed the previous record of 145 set by WWU’s Lacy Sheldon in 2019 and matched by Saint Martin’s Ashley Bruland in 2023. Smith played her best golf of the tournament on the final day of her first GNAC Championships appearance, carding a 2-under-par 70 in the second round to help eclipse a three-stroke deficit to WWU’s Emma Worgum heading into the day.

Sophomore Sueah Park followed Smith in third place with a two-day score of 6-over-par 150 after shooting a low-round of 1-over-par 73 on the first day of the tournament. Fellow sophomore Meera Minhas was just two strokes behind Park in fourth with a score of 8-over-par 152 with her best round of the championships coming on the second day courtesy of a 3-over-par 75. Sophomore Anaya Bhandal and junior Kassie Muanyam rounded out the Red Leafs’ effort as part of a three-way for sixth with three-round scores of 10-over-par 154.

With the GNAC titles in hand, both the Western Washington men and Simon Fraser women have received the conference’s automatic berths to the NCAA Championships. The Vikings will compete at the 2024 NCAA West Region Men’s Golf Championships on May 9-11 at University Golf Course in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Red Leafs will head to Stockton, Calif., for the 2024 NCAA West Region Women’s Golf Championships at the Brookside Golf & Country Club on May 6-8.