WWCC's Geelan in hunt at SW Oregon Invitational

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BANDON, Ore. — Grant Geelan is in the hunt, but his team has a little more ground to make up heading into today’s second and final round of the Southwest Oregon Invitational men’s golf tournament on the breezy Oregon Coast.

Geelan, playing No. 4 in Walla Walla Community College’s lineup, fired a 1-over-par 73 Sunday at Bandon Trails and found himself tied for sixth place in a field of 65, six shots behind co-leaders Cotten Kleis of Bellevue and Evan Omelia of Spokane, who matched 5-under-par 67s.

The Warriors, however, scored 310 as a team and were 14 strokes behind Spokane after the Sasquatch chalked up a 296 tally for their top four players, which was good for a three-stroke advantage over second-place Bellevue.

“Grant put himself in contention,” Warriors coach Mike Rostollan said of Geelan. “He shot a 4-under-par 32 on the back nine at Bandon Dunes during a practice round, so he could make a serious move today. His confidence never wanes.”

The men’s tournament concludes today at Bandon Dunes.

The women’s tournament, which began Sunday at Bandon Dunes, shifts to Pacific Dunes for today’s final round of play. Columbia Basin leads a field of five women’s teams with a 236 score for its top three players, led by first-round leader Hope Neidhold’s 3-under-par 75.

Walla Walla’s women’s team was tied for fourth place with Spokane, each team in at 270, and Stephanie Bullock was the Warriors’ top shooter with an 85 that was good for a four-way share of eighth place, 10 shots off the pace.

“The weather was better than expected,” Rostollan said of Sunday’s first round. “Which means we all wore rain gear expecting some weather that didn’t come. Today is supposed to be very much the same — cool, breezy and overcast, but very playable.”

Kleis and Omelia were just one shot in front of Green River’s Broc Johnson in the battle for individual medalist honors. Johnson carded a 4-under-par 68 and was a stroke up on Spokane’s Kurt Simmons, who fired a 3-under-par 69 and was two back of the leaders.

Justin Wiles of host Southwest Oregon was the only other player under par after shooting a 70 that put him two strokes in the red, three back of the leaders and alone in fifth place.

Then came Geelan and Skagit Valley’s Josh Whitley, who matched 1-over-par 73s. And they were just one stroke ahead of Olympic’s Logan Rants, who turned in a 2-over 74, and two up on Brad Hunt of Skagit Valley and Aaron Pauls of the University of Fraser Valley, who matched 3-over 75s and were tied for ninth place.

Walla Walla’s Mike Ciez shot 77 and was in a five-player logjam for 14th place, 10 back of the leaders.

“Mike finished the last two holes in the dark and shot double-bogey, bogey, or he would have been much closer,” Rostollan said of Ciez, “Bandon Dunes in daylight better fits Mike’s eyes.”

Walla Walla’s other two counting scores came from Jon Wilson and Nate Colo, who each recorded an 80. Tannen Potter and Andrew Grove carded non-counting 81s.

Skagit Valley was in third place in the men’s team scoring with a 304 tally, followed by Green River 307, Southwest Oregon 308, Olympic 309, Walla Walla and Fraser Valley 310, Columbia Basin 319 and Central Washington 337.

Columbia Basin’s 236 score was good for an 18-stroke advantage over Bellevue in the women’s team standings. Bellevue shot 254, followed by Green River 264 and Walla Walla and Spokane at 270.

Neidhold held a four-shot lead over Fraser Valley’s Dani Shap in the field of 29 women who battled the elements and the tough Bandon Dunes course Sunday. Shap’s 4-over-par 76 was good for a two-shot advantage over CBC’s Bri Hadler, who was alone in third place at 78 and one shot in front of Trinity Lutheran College’s Kalan Smith.

After Bullock’s 85, WWCC’s other two counting scores came from Kelsey Bigness, who shot 91 and was tied for 17th place, and from Kelsey Sage, who turned in a 94 and was alone in 22nd place.

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