Vikings Ranked 24th In Preseason Men's Golf Coaches Poll
Michael Butler achieved his best tournament finish last year at the GNAC Championships, placing 20th.
Michael Butler achieved his best tournament finish last year at the GNAC Championships, placing 20th.

Monday, August 28, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Western Washington, the two-time defending GNAC champion, enters the 2017-18 season ranked tied for 24th in the Bushnell Golfweek Division II Preseason Coaches’ Poll. 

The Vikings received 61 points and finished tied with CCAA rival Stanislaus State in the annual preseason poll. Of the teams inside the top-25, Western Washington was one of 15 programs to participate in last year’s NCAA Division II National Championships.

Western Washington finished tied for third last May in the NCAA West/South Central Regional Championships with an 847-team score, collectively shooting 17-under-par. The Vikings eventually went on to finish in 16th place at the NCAA Championships. Western Washington boasts a league-high eight GNAC team titles and has appeared at 19 straight NCAA Regional Events.

Defending national champion Florida Southern ranks as the top team in the preseason poll, receiving nine first-place votes with 429 points. National semifinalist West Florida earned 417 points and seven first-place votes to attain a second-place ranking. Barry earned 396 points, while Lynn achieved 384 points (two first-place votes) and Florida Tech received 366 points to round out the top five.

Western Washington’s top three golfers and GNAC All-Conference selections from a year ago (Chris Hatch, Jeffrey Marcum and Brett Johnson) all depart via graduation. The trio combined for 98 rounds in 2016-17 and collectively shot a 73.2 strokes per round average. Last year, the Vikings led all GNAC teams in rounds and scoring average.

The Vikings return junior Michael Butler and sophomore Ezra Arneson, who both ranked in the top-15 for GNAC scoring average. Butler competed in seven tournaments during the 2016-17 season, placing 20th in the GNAC Championships and tied for 31st in the NCAA Division II Super Regional.

Sophomore Ethan Casto made an appearance in the NCAA Division II Championships, finishing tied for 57th with a 225 stroke total. Junior Cody Roth brings back much needed GNAC Championships experience after tying for 12th during last year’s tournament.

Western Washington opens its 2017 campaign at the Saint Martin’s Invitational in Olympia, Wash., on Sept. 22. The next Bushnell Golfweek Division II Coaches Poll will be released on Sept. 29.