Thain's Championship Dominance Ends In Record
The Western Washington men's golf championship team (L to R): Coach Luke Bennett, Seth King, Jordan Lee, Devin Andrews, Aidan Thain, Conrad Brown.
The Western Washington men's golf championship team (L to R): Coach Luke Bennett, Seth King, Jordan Lee, Devin Andrews, Aidan Thain, Conrad Brown.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Aidan Thain was already in a world of his own before teeing off in Tuesday’s final round of the GNAC Men’s Golf Championships at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Over the next 18 holes, the senior turned a victory lap into a chase for history and came away with an all-time conference record.

Thain finished his round at 3-under-par 68, creating a three-round total of 199 that is the lowest 54-hole score in GNAC history at any golf course. Thain finished at 14-under-par for the tournament and won the event by 16 strokes.

“I wasn’t really thinking about the score, just having a good time,” Thain said. “I think about anything but golf to keep my mind off it out there. It helps me stay relaxed and less stressed.”

Thain didn’t have any stress thanks to the eight-stroke lead he held into the final round after tying a GNAC Championships record with a round of 64 in the second round Monday. With more challenging weather conditions on Tuesday, Thain was the only player in the field to break par with his 3-under. He hit five birdies with two bogeys on the afternoon and finished with 20 birdies in the tournament, five more than any other player.

Another massive lead that only extended as Tuesday went on was Western Washington’s team competition performance. The Vikings easily won the team title with a 54-hole score of 854, 22 strokes ahead of Simon Fraser. After Thain, Jordan Lee tied for second, Conrad Brown tied for seventh and Devin Andrews tied for 10th.

Western Washington has now won 10 of the 14 GNAC Men’s Golf Championships that have been contested, but the Vikings hoisted the trophy for the first time since 2019 after there was no tournament in 2020 and Saint Martin’s won the title in 2021.

“We’re all close,” Thain said. “We all push each other and we all know we’re really good. We have a good team comrodary and it’s just a fun group. We excel together.”

With the individual and team races turning into a landslide, the drama came in the races for second. Individually, a trio of golfers tied for second behind Thain at 2-over-par 215: Simon Fraser’s Bailey Bjornson, WWU’s Lee and Saint Martin’s Max Turnquist. Of the three, Bjornson had the best round of the day, firing a 2-over-par 73 and climbing from fifth place at the start of the day. Saint Martin’s senior Dennis Geissler completed the top five two strokes out of second at 4-over-par 217.

Bjornson’s effort paced a Simon Fraser team that held off the chasing pack to finish second. After Bjornson, SFU got a top-10 finish from Ryan Hodgins, who tied for seventh at 6-over-par 219, while Ryan Stolys, Kyle Mayner and Michael Crisologo all finished between 14th and 18th.

Led by their two top-five finishes, Saint Martin’s finished third with a score of 883, seven strokes behind SFU. Defending champion Tyler Fitchett made a run up the leaderboard on Tuesday, shooting a 3-over-par 74 to move up four slots and salvage a ninth-place finish.

Montana State Billings finished fourth with a team score of 888, five strokes behind Saint Martin’s. The Yellowjackets were paced by Dawson Strobel, who finished sixth at 5-over-par 218. Northwest Nazarene finished fifth at 906 and placed a top-10 finisher with Cole Evarts finishing tied for 10th at 222.