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Woodin places 3rd at GNAC Championships; Rochford 12th for MSU Billings women

MSUB Garrett Woodin 20.png
Posted at 7:55 AM, Apr 21, 2021

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

DUPONT, Wash. – Matching the highest Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Golf Championships finish in Montana State University Billings history, senior Garrett Woodin took third place at The Home Course on Tuesday.

Woodin shot a three-round score of 219 (72-76-71), becoming the fourth player in program history to record a top-five finish at the conference event.

“Garrett is rock solid,” said MSUB head coach Jeff Allen. “He continues to impress me with the way he leads and manages the game. He had a rough back-nine on his second round yesterday, but he kept a great attitude and came back with an under-par round today. An under-par round on a championship setup is a great accomplishment.”

Woodin’s third-place finish matched Tyler Nicholas, who took third at the 2008 GNAC Championships in Spokane, Washington. Allen placed fourth at the 2009 GNAC Championships, and Jake Hedge tied for fifth at the 2015 GNAC Championships, both of which took place in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Woodin saved his best round of golf for last, climbing up the 20-player leaderboard with a 1-under-par 71 on Tuesday on the par-72, 6,910-yard course. Woodin played a clean, even-par 36 on the front-nine in Round 3, before rattling off three more birdies on the back-nine for a 1-under-par 35 over his final nine holes. After making bogey on his first hole of the day, Woodin played 3-under-par golf over the next 15 holes to ascend towards the top of the leaderboard.

Woodin finished just two strokes behind second-place Drew Halili of Western Washington University, who wound up with a 217 (74-72-71). Tyler Fitchett of Saint Martin’s University won the tournament, posting a three-round score of 2-under-par 214 (69-72-73). Fitchett’s performance led the Saints to their first-ever GNAC team title, as they posted a three-round score of 875 (294-288-293).

MSUB finished in third place among the four-team field, with a three-round team total of 877 (298-296-293). “The improvement in each round was important, and that’s something we have worked on all year long,” Allen said. “They’re still searching for their best golf this season, which is exciting because we should have a chance to get back out again. They are in a good place with their game right now, and I’m super proud of them.”

Also finishing in the top-10 for the Yellowjackets was junior Caleb Trost, who tied for eighth place with a three-round score of 223 (77-76-70). Trost put his foot on the gas Tuesday, ripping through Round 3 with back-to-back nines of 1-under-par 35. Trost kicked off a 14-hole stretch of 3-under-par golf to finish the tournament, as he climbed five spots on the leaderboard starting with his push on Hole 5 on Tuesday. Competing in the conference event for the third time in his career, Trost posted his highest-ever finish at the GNAC Championships.

“Caleb has been close all year in finding his groove, and he is really gaining a lot of confidence in his game right now,” Allen said. “He is starting to play some really good golf, and a 2-under round today is a great way to finish the event. It is also a good springboard into the regional which is right back here.”

Redshirt freshman Kevin Kolb took 12th place on Tuesday, wrapping up with a score of 224 (76-72-76). Kolb had MSUB’s only eagle and one of just three total at the tournament, as he cut off a pair of strokes on the par-5, 555-yard eighth hole in his final round. Kolb finished the day strong, with a 1-over-par 37 on the back-nine in Round 3.

Junior Riley Kaercher tied for 15th place, with a three-round total of 228 (73-72-83). Kaercher started Round 3 with six straight pars, and had 10 total to close out the event on Tuesday.

Also competing for the Yellowjackets was redshirt freshman Paul O’Neil, who took 19th place with a score of 234 (78-80-76). O’Neil’s final round featured three birdies, as well as a solid 1-over-par 37 on the front-nine.

THE BUZZ: Woodin was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…Woodin’s 71 was his lowest round of the spring season and it tied for the third-lowest individual round by an MSUB player this spring…MSUB’s team score of 293 on Tuesday was its third-lowest of the 2021 spring season.

NEXT UP: The Yellowjacket men, who entered the week ranked eighth in the NCAA D2 west region poll, will await their fate as they seek the program’s first-ever team berth into the NCAA playoffs. The top-eight teams in the final regional rankings will earn a spot in the tournament, which runs May 6-8 at The Home Course.

2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships

Final Results – April 20, 2021

The Home Course – DuPont, Washington

Team – 1. Saint Martin’s, 875 (294-288-293); 3. MSU Billings, 887 (298-296-293). Individual – 1. Tyler Fitchett, Saint Martin’s, 214 (69-72-73); 3. Garrett Woodin, MSUB, 219 (72-76-71); T8. Caleb Trost, MSUB, 223 (77-76-70); 12. Kevin Kolb, MSUB, 224 (76-72-76); T15. Riley Kaercher, MSUB, 228 (73-72-83); 19. Paul O’Neil, MSUB, 234 (78-80-76).

Meantime, playing for the final time in a Yellowjacket uniform, senior Sydney Rochford finished in 12th place with a score of 164 (87-77). Rochford showed a 10-stroke improvement between rounds, and shot a career-low 77 in her final round of collegiate golf. Rochford finished the tournament strongly, making eight pars on a 1-over-par 37 on the back-nine.

“For our senior to shoot her personal best round in her last round is just really great to see,” said MSUB head coach Jeff Allen. “She has worked so hard for four years in this program, and being able to see her out there on the course enjoying the moment and the walk was really fun. I am super proud of her, and happy that she was able to end her career on such a positive note.”

The Yellowjackets finished the event with a two-round team score of 653 (337-316) on the par-72, 5,815-yard course. MSUB improved by 20 strokes as a team between rounds, finishing the event on a positive note on Tuesday. “The girls had a good finish today,” Allen said. “They ended their season on a high note with a solid round out here. We are only losing one player, and there is a bright future for that team. Hopefully they use this today and this whole season as a learning experience.”

Tierney Messmer was MSUB’s top finisher among the field of 20 players, taking 11th place with a two-round score of 162 (78-84). Messmer had three total birdies in the tournament, including one on the par-5, 473-yard 16th hole in her final round on Tuesday.

Avery Gill tied for 13th place in the tournament, with a two-round total of 165 (86-79). Gill cut off seven strokes between rounds, carding one birdie and 11 pars on Tuesday to break the 80 mark in her final round of the year.

Tying for 16th place was junior Kinsey Irvin, who wound up with a 166 (90-76). Irvin showed the most improvement of any MSUB player, cutting off 14 strokes and tying for the lowest individual round by any of the 20 players at the event. Irvin’s career-low 76 on Tuesday featured three birdies, and a 1-over-par 37 on the front-nine. “She had a really tough day yesterday, but came back out with a good attitude and a fresh mindset,” Allen said. “I’m most proud that all the players were very resilient and kept plugging along, and good things happened. I’m very happy for Kinsey.”

Junior Jalen Wagner finished in 19th place, with a score of 172 (86-86). Wagner stayed consistent with a birdie in each round, saving a stroke on the par-3, 119-yard 14th hole to highlight Tuesday’s performance.

Kathryn Crimp of Saint Martin’s University won the tournament with a two-round total of 153 (77-76). Crimp edged her teammate Hoku Nagamine by two strokes, after the duo was tied for the lead each shooting a 77 on Monday. Western Washington University claimed the team crown, shooting a two-round score of 627 (315-312) to win the title by a considerable 11 strokes ahead of second-place Northwest Nazarene University.

THE BUZZ: Rochford was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…her previous career low was a 78, which she shot on April 3 at the RJGA Palm Valley Classic in Arizona…Irvin’s previous career low round was a 77, which she reached twice as a freshman during the fall of 2018.

2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships

Final Results – April 20, 2021

The Home Course – DuPont, Washington

Team – 1. Western Washington, 627 (315-312); 4. MSU Billings, 653 (337-316). Individual – 1. Kathryn Crimp, Saint Martin’s, 153 (77-76); 11. Tierney Messmer, MSUB, 162 (78-84); 12. Sydney Rochford, MSUB, 164 (87-77); T13. Avery Gill, MSUB, 165 (86-79); T16. Kinsey Irvin, MSUB, 166 (90-76); 19. Jalen Wagner, MSUB, 172 (86-86).