(Photo courtesy MSUB Athletics)

MSUB media release

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Caleb Stetzner shot a 4-under-par 68 in his second round at the Western Washington University Invitational on Monday, leading the Montana State University Billings men’s golf team as he sits in seventh place with one round left to play at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club.

Stetzner followed his first-round 73 by cutting off five strokes in Round 2, and finished the day with a score of 141.

As a team, MSUB shot a 300 in Round 1 and improved to a 294 in Round 2 to sit in 11th place with a total of 594. “Overall I was pleased with the day, and we continued to get better,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “This was the fourth straight round that our team improved its score, and we are looking to take it a step further tomorrow.”

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Stetzner used seven birdies in his two-round total, that wound up being 2-under-par for the day. On the front nine his second time through the course, Stetzner played a 4-under-par 33 which included an eagle on the par-5, 469-yard first hole. His strong drive was followed by a cut 3-wood, which set him up for a 12-foot birdie putt that cut off two strokes from his score.

He also saved a stroke on holes four and six, while making par on the rest of his way out. He only had one bogey in his second round, but evened his score back out with another birdie on the par-4, 326-yard 16th hole. The freshman was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day.

Three consecutive bogeys on holes 14-through-16 hurt Stetzner the first time through the course, but a 2-under-par 35 on the front nine helped him finish just one over in his opening round. “Caleb had an outstanding day, and his 68 in the afternoon round was very impressive,” said Woodin. “He had two very consistent rounds with only one bogey the entire second round.”

Senior Michael Porter finished the day in a tie for 49th place, as he shot a 149 (74-75) in his two rounds. Seeing success similar to Stetzner’s on his opening front nine, Porter had just one bogey and played the other eight holes at even par for a one-over 38. Back-to-back birdies on the par-4 14th and 15th holes helped Porter finish with a one-over 36 on the back nine, as he came close to par with a 74 his first time through the course.

Porter played his second round nearly identically, and was more consistent as he carded no worse than a bogey. He added two more birdies – on the par-5, 469-yard first hole and the par-5, 528-yard seventh hole – and had six pars in-a-row on holes 10-through-15.

Just behind Porter is fellow senior Connor Miele, who is in a tie for 52nd place with a two-round total of 150 (74-76). Miele’s best stretch came on the back nine his first time through, as he played it at one-under 34. The effort came thanks in large part to back-to-back birdies on the par-4 16th and 17th holes, and the senior had seven birdies overall on the day. Miele overcame a four-over 41 on the front nine in his second round, and completed the back nine at even-par 35.

“Both Connor and Michael had strong days, and I was pleased that they each only had one double-bogey,” Woodin said. “I think both players have some room for improvement tomorrow, and I look for them to take another step forward in their final rounds tomorrow.”

Checking in at a tie for 80th place after the first two rounds is sophomore Austin Walter, who improved six strokes between rounds and shot a 156 overall (81-75). Walter had a pair of birdies in his opening round, and added three more his second time through the course as he gained 10 spots on the leaderboard. Walter just missed out on playing the front nine at even-par in his second round, as a double-bogey on the ninth hole nudged him to a one-over 38. “I was really proud of Austin, as he struggled a little bit in his opening round,” Woodin commented. “He came back strong, and hit it to within three feet on a long, par-3 18th hole. That was really the comeback of his round.”

Completing MSUB’s field of five golfers was freshman Garrett Woodin, who shot a two-round total of 162 (79-83) and sits in 94th place. Woodin carded three birdies on Day 1, and put together his best stretch on the back nine in Round 1 with a two-over 37.

A trio of golfers are tied for the top spot on the leaderboard after Day 1, including Brett Johnson and Jeffrey Marcum of Western Washington, and Chris Crisologo of Simon Fraser who all shot a 138 in their first two rounds. Three other players are just two strokes off of the lead, and the top-17 golfers among the field of 96 are separated by just five strokes entering the final round on Tuesday.

The University of British Columbia leads the team race after rounds of 287 and 282, holding a two-stroke lead over host Western Washington at 569 overall. Other GNAC schools competing in the event include Concordia University (4th place, 578), Simon Fraser (6th place, 581), Saint Martin’s (10th place, 587), and Northwest Nazarene (16th place, 622).

UP NEXT: The third and final round is set to tee off on Tuesday morning, as the ‘Jackets complete their second tournament in the last five days. Live scoring will be available online through GolfStat.