(MSUB Athletics release)
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Posting a top-10 finish at the 2018 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships, Montana State University Billings men’s golf sophomore Caleb Stetzner led the way at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course on Tuesday in the final round of action.
Stetzner carded a 2-over-par 73, finishing the three-round event with a total of 219 (72-74-73). Overall the Yellowjackets finished in sixth place among the field of six teams on the par-71, 6,803-yard course layout. MSUB ended the tournament on a strong note, as its team score of 293 on Tuesday was its best of the event and the fourth-best among the field on the day.
“I was very happy with our guys today, as they really played hard and well,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “They were eight shots better than our best score yesterday, so they really finished strong. We are the youngest team here, with no seniors, and I’m hoping this round gives them confidence heading into the offseason so we can begin to reach the potential that we have in the future.”
Stetzner’s clean final round consisted of 12 straight pars to start the day, and just two bogeys in the round. Overall in the three-day event, Stetzner had nothing worse than a bogey on his scorecard, and finished with seven birdies.
“Caleb had a strong tournament, and really hit the ball well throughout,” Woodin said. “To play this course for 54 holes without one double bogey or worse is really hard to do, and his consistency continues to amaze me. He didn’t make a lot of putts, and was really close to going very low at times. We know he is going to come in around par, and that is very important to our team.”
Junior Scott Larson matched his career low on Tuesday, shooting an even-par 71 to close out his third season with the Yellowjackets. Larson wound up in a tie for 17th place, with a three-round total of 226 (73-82-71). Like Stetzner, Larson was remarkably consistent on Tuesday as he started his round with 15 straight pars. After a bogey on Hole 6, he rebounded with an eagle on the par-4, 269-yard 17th hole. Larson drove the green by drawing a 3-iron shot around trees off the tee box, and nailed a 30-foot putt for the highlight of his tournament. “Scott had one of the best rounds of his career today, and he just kept battling,” said Woodin. “I was proud of the way he bounced back after yesterday’s second round, and finished his season the right way.”
Tying for 24th place at the tournament was sophomore Garrett Woodin, who saved his best round for last with a 75 on Tuesday. Woodin made three birdies his final time through the course, and played the front-nine at even-par 35. Overall he finished with a three-round total of 231. “Garrett played well today, and just had a couple swings that hurt him,” Woodin commented on his son’s performance. “Overall he had his best day of the tournament so far too.”
Freshman Riley Kaercher also scored for the ‘Jackets on Tuesday, matching his season low with a 74 to close out the year. Kaercher had nothing worse than a bogey on his card in Round 3, and notched his lone birdie on the par-4, 269-yard 17th hole. Kaercher finished the tournament in 29th place with a three-round score of 240.
“Riley helped us with his 74 to be a counting score today,” Woodin said. “That was much needed and he played his most consistent round in a while, avoiding any double bogeys or worse. That’s what you need to have from your fifth position.”
Also competing for the ‘Jackets was freshman Caleb Trost, who took 26th place at the event with a three-round score of 233 (79-78-76). Trost’s top round of the tournament fell on Tuesday, when he made three birdies and was just 1-over-par 36 on the front-nine.
Simon Fraser University defended its GNAC title, winning the event by nine strokes with a three-round team score of 852 (276-290-286). SFU’s Craig Titterington and Western Washington University’s Ethan Castro tied for first place each with a 209, and the latter claimed medalist honors by winning the playoff hole.
THE BUZZ: Larson was picked as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…Larson last shot a 71 on Sept. 26, 2017 last fall, and his three-round score also matched his career low…Stetzner had his three best rounds at the GNAC Championships, bettering last year’s total of 228 by nine strokes.
2018 GNAC Men’s Golf Championships
Final Results | April 24, 2018
Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course | Coeur d’Alene, ID
Team – 1. Simon Fraser, 852 (276-290-286); 6. MSU Billings, 907 (301-313-293). Individual – T1. Ethan Castro, WWU, 209 (67-75-67); T1. Craig Titterington, SFU, 209 (71-67-71); T10. Caleb Stetzner, MSUB, 219 (72-74-73); T17. Scott Larson, MSUB, 226 (73-82-71); T24. Garrett Woodin, MSUB, 231 (77-79-75); 26. Caleb Trost, MSUB, 233 (79-78-76); 29. Riley Kaercher, MSUB, 240 (82-84-74).