Yellowjackets and Vikings Start 2016-17 Golf Season

Friday, September 9, 2016

PORTLAND  – Western Washington men’s golf will debut the new season on Sept. 12, while the Montana State Billings men and women co-host with Rocky Mountain their season opener on Sept. 15.

Less than five months after claiming first place at the GNAC Men’s Golf Championship, the Vikings will play the first event of the 2016-17 season in the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate on Sept. 12-13 at the Palouse Ridge Golf Course in Pullman, Wash.

Brett Johnson, who took first place individually in the conference championship with a score of 10-under-par 66, is back for his senior season. He is joined by Chris Hatch and Michael Butler, who were also among eight players to finish the conference tournament under par.

The Yellowjacket men and women will play in the MSUB/RMC Cup. Last year, the Battlin’ Bears’ men’s team edged MSU Billings 11-9 in the match-play event. It was the second consecutive win for Rocky Mountain after the Yellowjackets claimed a 7-5 win in 2013.

All of the top four Yellowjackets that competed in the GNAC Championships are back on the roster this year. Connor Miele had the top score for the Yellowjackets at 6-over-par 219, while Michael Porter, Austin Walter and Scott Larson all finished in the top 30.

Montana State Billings is the only team on the women’s side in action during the first week, joining the men at the MSUB/RMC Cup on Sept. 15-16. The Yellowjackets finished sixth in the GNAC Championships last year, but was tied for fourth after the first round.

Head coach Kevin Woodin had a relaxed recruiting season, knowing that all six members of last year’s roster would be back for this season. Kortney McNeil led the Yellowjackets throughout the season with a 78.2 stroke average per 18 holes. In the conference tournament, however, it was Bailee Dexter who paced MSUB with a sixth-place finish at 14-over-par 156.

The Western Washington and Concordia women will also be in action in September. MSU-Billings and Western Washington will go to Goodyear, Ariz., at the same time to play separate events on Sept. 19-20. The following week, Concordia will play on Sept. 26-27 in the Rose City Intercolligiate, in Aurora, Ore.

On the men’s side, all six teams will head to the Saint Martin’s Invitational on Sept. 23-24. After a day off, each team will then compete in the Western Washington Invitational on Sept. 26-27.

CRISOLOGO’S SUMMER VACATION: It was far from a summer vacation for GNAC Men’s Golf Player of the Year Chris Crisologo of Simon Fraser, who managed to come close to a spot in the U.S. Amateur Championships.

Crislogo won the first ever qualifying event to be held in Canada for the prestigious tournament, held July 18 in Vancouver, B.C. The incoming junior finished at 6-under-par 134 in the two-round event, which included a low round on the opening day. The win moved Crisologo to stroke play in Detroit, Mich. with a shot to enter the 64-man playoff. Crisologo finished nine strokes away from qualifying at 11-over-par 140.

IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Both Simon Fraser and Western Washington found places in the preseason Bushnell Golfweek Division II Preseason Men’s Golf Coaches Poll, which was released in August. The Clan opens the year ranked No. 23, one of four tWest Region teams to earn a top-25 ranking. Western Washington was among teams receiving votes, picking up 13 points.