(MSUB Athletics release)
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Reigning Great Northwest Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Caleb Stetzner had a strong showing on Day 1 of the 2018 GNAC Men’s Golf Championships, leading the way for Montana State University Billings on Monday at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.
Stetzner started the tournament with a 1-over-par 72, and ended the day with a 3-over-par 74 his second time through the par-71, 6,803-yard course layout. After the opening day of action, Stetzner is in a tie for seventh place among the individual leaderboard with a two-round total of 146.
As a team, the Yellowjackets had rounds of 301 and 313, and are in sixth place among the field of six conference teams with a score of 614. “Our guys worked hard today, but we had difficulty getting any momentum going,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “I am excited to see if we can improve our score tomorrow as a team, and perhaps move up in the standings. It is important that we come out firing tomorrow, and see if we can get some putts to fall early. I believe we can shave a bunch of strokes and post a sub-300 team round.”
Stetzner had five birdies in his first round of the day, and cruised through the back-nine at 1-under-par 35. Stetzner hit 11 greens and putted 30 times in the opening round, which was highlighted by a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3, 218-yard 14th hole.
He followed that with two more birdies his second time through, and was once again solid on the back-nine at 1-over-par 37 in Round 2. In his second round, Stetzner nailed 13 greens in regulation and putted 32 times. “Caleb worked very hard today,” said Woodin. “He actually bogeyed his first four holes of the day, but just kept fighting and played the final 14 holes of his first round at three-under. His play was consistent in the second round as well. He struggled some with his pace on the greens today, but all-in-all Caleb had a very good day for us.”
Junior Scott Larson had a strong first round for the ‘Jackets, notching a 2-over-par 73 in the opener. Larson had just three bogeys in his first 18 holes, and, like Stetzner, was solid on the back-nine playing it at even-par 36. Larson followed with an 82 in Round 2, and is currently tied for 22nd place with a two-round total of 155.
One stroke behind Larson is sophomore Garrett Woodin, who broke 80 in each round on Monday. Woodin started the day at 2-under-par through his first five holes, and played the front-nine at 1-over-par 36 in Round 1. Overall Woodin had six birdies on Monday, shooting a 77 in the opening round and a 79 in the second round. Woodin enters Tuesday’s final round in 25th place.
Freshman Caleb Trost logged five birdies in his first collegiate round at the CDA Resort, with a 79 in the opening round and improved by one stroke with a 78 in Round 2. Trost ended the day on a positive note, with two birdies and two pars in his final four holes to close out the day in 26th place.
Also competing in the event for the first time is freshman Riley Kaercher, who is in 29th place after a 166 on Day 1. Kaercher had one birdie each time through the course, shooting an 82 in the opening round and following with an 84 in the second.
Four of the top-five individuals at the event are from Simon Fraser University, which tallied a two-round score of 564 on the day. The Clan came within two strokes of the GNAC single-round team record in Round 1, shooting a 276 to jump out to the lead. SFU’s Craig Titterington missed the GNAC course record by one stroke in Round 2, firing a 6-under-par 65 to jump into first place with a two-round total of 136 (71-65).
THE BUZZ: Stetzner was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…the sophomore had his best two rounds at the GNAC Championships, after carding a top score of 74 in Round 1 of the event as a freshman in 2017.
COMING UP: The third and final round tees off on Tuesday morning, as the ‘Jackets look to improve on their Day 1 score. Live scoring will be available throughout Tuesday’s final round online through Golf Stat here.
2018 GNAC Men’s Golf Championships
Day 1 Results | April 23, 2018
Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course | Coeur d’Alene, ID
Team – 1. Simon Fraser, (276-); 6. MSU Billings, 614 (301-313). Individual – 1. Craig Titterington, SFU, 136 (71-65); T8. Caleb Stetzner, MSUB, 146 (72-74); T22. Scott Larson, MSUB, 155 (73-82); 25. Garrett Woodin, MSUB, 156 (77-79); 26. Caleb Trost, MSUB, 157 (79-78); 29. Riley Kaercher, MSUB, 166 (82-84).