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First of Three Majors Looms for PLU Golfers

COMING UP: The first of the three "major" tournaments that determine the overall Northwest Conference golf champions takes place this Saturday and Sunday at Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield, Wash. The NWC Fall Classic will be contested by the conference men's and women's teams beginning with a shotgun at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The second of the two 18-hole rounds also starts on Sunday with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start.

MEN'S TOURNAMENT NOTES: The Tri-Mountain course, which sets up at 6,580 yards for the men, is hosting a Northwest Conference championship event for the first time. "Our guys are going into the Fall Classic with a lot of confidence," PLU head coach Kris Swanson says. "The course sets up very well for all of them. They have worked hard and are prepared to go out and leave it all on the course."

PLU ENTRANTS: The Pacific Lutheran lineup this weekend features junior Dustin Hegge, the reigning Northwest Conference Player of the Year, freshmen Justin Lee and Seth Nickerson, senior Auston Hilkin and sophomore Tim Livermore. Hegge has averaged 72.3 strokes, Lee 74.5, Nickerson 76.3 and Livermore 77.2 over four rounds this fall, while Hilkin averaged 74.5 in his two rounds at Oct. 14-15 PLU Invitational.

THE FORMULA: The conference determines its annual champion by the combined results of the NWC Fall Classic (25 percent), NWC Spring Classic (25 percent) and NWC Tournament (50 percent).

2011 FALL CLASSIC RESULTS: The Lutes are led into this year's Fall Classic by Dustin Hegge, who fired an even-par 144 over 36 holes to win medalist honors at the 2011 Northwest Conference Fall Classic men's golf tournament held at Heron Lakes Golf Club in Portland, Ore. Hegge opened with a four-under 68 and followed it up with a four-over 76 for his 144. With the win, Hegge became the first Pacific Lutheran golfer to win one of the Northwest Conference's three "major" tournaments - NWC Fall Classic, NWC Spring Classic, NWC Championships - since Chris Packard won the 2007 NWC Fall Classic. Puget Sound won its second consecutive NWC Fall Classic with a 593, 17 over par. Linfield was second with a 606, followed by Whitman 612, Whitworth 614, Pacific Lutheran 617, George Fox 633, Willamette 641, and Pacific 643. Lewis & Clark had an incomplete team.

PLU MOVES UP TO NO. 13: With one more event remaining on the fall season schedule, Pacific Lutheran has moved up two spots to No. 13 among NCAA Division III men's golf teams, according to the latest Golfstat national poll. Thus far this season the Lutes have tied for third at the Whitman Invitational and have won their own PLU Invitational, which was held on Oct. 14-15.

- PLU -