Men's Golf 16th at NCAAs for Best Finish in Program History
Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Northwest Conference Champion Pacific Lutheran University men's golf team closed out the NCAA Division III Championships on Friday with the program's best ever finish, capping off the 2018 edition 16th overall at the Grandover Resort.
The Lutes finished the four-day event with a team tally of 1208 (303-294-304-307), placing 16th amongst the 42-team field. PLU's finish eclipses its previous best of 18th set at last season's NCAA Championships.
NWC Freshman of the Year Austin Darnell tallied the Lutes' best round in three of the four days, finishing 24th overall with a 294 (74-68-77-75) to pace the squad. Jared Beals shot a 304 (76-71-81-76) for the tournament, placing 65th while Jordan Brajcich was two strokes back in 73rd (77-77-73-79).
Mitchell Baldridge closed out his decorated career with a 308 (76-76-77-77), placing 75th. The senior was the NWC Player of the Year a season ago, All-NWC and All-West Region this season, and guided the Lutes to back-to-back NWC titles and NCAA appearances.
"Competing for PLU the last four years has flown by. I was blessed to play for a team who's chemistry was unmeasurable. We were a team of brothers who worked so hard to compete at the highest of levels on and off the course during and out of season," said Baldridge. "Playing for Coach Swanson and Drugge was also an unforgettable experience. They both love the game and love us and playing for them is so easy."
"I'm really sad to be done. Done traveling in vans and staying in hotels with my best friends, and playing the best game in the world, but at the end of the day my time has come. I just hope I left something more with these young guys then good golf shots and good tournaments. I hope I impacted them in ways that they won't forget. I hope I led them by example and was always a good friend. At the end of the day golf is just a game and when we step off the course I wanted to be someone these guys could look up to. I can't wait to follow the future success of the team and root them on from the sidelines."
Luke Hall capped off the Lute contingent at nationals, shooting a 338 (86-91-77-84) at the event.
Methodist University took home the national title, shooting a 1159 (294-287-282-296) and owning an 11-stroke edge on runner-up Washington & Lee University (1170). The University of Texas-Tyler (1171) and Concordia University of Texas (1173) rounded out the top four. Washington & Lee's Brian Peccie (285) took home the individual title, edging out Concordia's Logan Young in a three hole playoff.