Bulldogs in full swing

Bellevue College’s men’s and women’s Golf teams showcased their talent at the Bellevue Invitational which took place on April 5 and 6.

The event, which was held at Redmond Ridge and Glendale Country, saw Bellevue College’s women finish in 3rd position, while the men finished 2nd after a nail-biting, sudden death playoff against SW Oregon.

The women’s team, consisting of Stephanie Schoof, Kelly Stearns and Brittany Zefkeles, impressed the coaching staff at Bellevue College with a spectacular performance at the competition.

Despite Zefkeles sustained shoulder injury, the team managed to end the competition with 31 shots less than Walla Walla Community College.

Athletic Director Bill O’Connor, who attended the competition, said that the women’s team was “stronger than last year’s,” a great sign of the potential the team has.

While the women put on a commendable display, the college’s men’s team provided the excitement for the event, battling with SW Oregon for the top spot long after the competition was expected to end.

After leading the competition on Day 1, the Bulldogs ended Day 2 of the event tied with SW Oregon. This meant that the teams went to sudden death, where the top two players from each college play against one another on one last hole. But even after another hole, the two colleges were still evenly matched and the third and fourth best players from each college went head to head on the same hole. Again, the teams were still tied; the crowd left thinking that the winner of this competition would never be decided.

So, a different hole was played and, again, the top four players from each college were set against one another. This time, the drama reached a climax, SW Oregon winning the competition by a 1 shot margin.

While this was a disappointment to the men’s team, the result showed that the Bulldogs have the potential to become one of the best teams in the Northwest.

O’Connor said, “SW Oregon has a pretty good team, and they are one of the favorites to win the NWAACC Championship,” which shows that the Bulldogs can play at an extremely high level.

Although the men’s golf has proven to be strong, the team does not have an outright pecking order. For all competitions, the college must assign a hierarchy of players, the first being the most talented, the last being the least.

As yet, the men’s team looks strong throughout, “the question being, who will come out to be our number one and two players,” said O’Connor.

This has not been a problem for head coach Kirk Johansson in the past, last year’s team consisting of two outstanding golfers: Richard Lee and Geoff Williams. In fact, Lee set the standard of golf at the college when he transferred to the University of Washington, becoming the first ever junior to be accepted into the university’s golf program.

Johanson, who up until now has been a unisex golf coach at the college, will have more time to form a hierarchy for his men’s team, as the Athletics department has recently welcomed a new women’s assistant coach into their golf program. Darcy Muzzi, a golf coach at Woodinville High School, will focus on the women’s team and help recruit new players.

While Kirk will concentrate more on the men and Darcy on the women, “they will cross,” said O’Connor, emphasizing the knowledge and skills two coaches can bring to the teams.

The Bellevue Invitational showcased the Bulldogs’ talent, the potential they have, and the excitement the sport can bring. After watching the event, O’Connor felt confident that both the men and women’s teams have the ability to finish in the top five of the NWAACC Championship.

Hopefully, with a little bit of luck on their side, these two teams can reach their full potential and go for the number one spot.

Johanson wasn’t available to comment on his team’s recent success, he’s currently watching “The Masters” golf tournament in Georgia. Hopefully he’s picking up tips for his teams, and not just enjoying the scenery and talent that’s on display.