Men's Golf Team and Four Bearcats Receive Academic Honors from GCAA

Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) logo with a golf ball to the right

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Four members of the Willamette University men's golf team have been named Srixon/Cleveland Golf NCAA Division III All-America Scholars by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) for the 2021-22 season. In addition, the Bearcat men's golf team was chosen as an All-Academic Team by the GCAA.

Golfers who received individual academic recognition were Austin Davis (Sr., Culver City, CA/Culver City HS), Andrew Kibbee (Sr., Kenmore, WA/Bothell HS), Riley Lankford (Sr., Pilot Rock, OR/Pilot Rock HS), and Alex Weirth (Sr., Port Orchard, WA/Crosspoint Academy). Kibbee and Weirth received this honor for the second year in a row.

Student-athletes chosen for All-America Scholar status were sophomores, juniors or seniors academically and athletically. They had to participate in 40% of their team's competitive rounds in 2021-22 and have a stroke average under 79.0 in NCAA Division III. Golfers selected for the honor also registered cumulative grade point averages of 3.2 or higher. Recipients were required to be of high moral character and be in good standing at their college or university.

"Our program has produced an academic All-America Scholar during eight of my nine seasons (missing only the season shortened by COVID-19)," Willamette Head Men's Golf Coach Patrick Daugherty said. "Austin, Andrew, Alex, and Riley idd a great job of keeping that legacy going."

The All-Academic Team designation went to squads with at least a 3.0 cumulative team GPA. The 2021-22 Academic National Champion for NCAA Division III was Carleton College (Minn.) with a 3.71 cumulative team GPA. Willamette was one of just 28 teams in NCAA Division III that earned All-Academic status.

"As good as the guys have been on the course, they've been even better in the classroom," Daugherty noted. "It is an awesome accomplishment that I am extremely proud of. Willamette continues to prove that it is a place where you can be both a scholar and an athlete at an elite level."

During the 2021-22 season, Willamette qualified for its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III Golf Championship where the Bearcats tied for 19th place at the Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. Willamette tied for 11th place in 2021 and placed 13th in 2019. The NCAA did not hold a championship event in 2020.

The Bearcats also won their third consecutive Northwest Conference Championship in 2021-22 by taking first place at the NWC Fall Classic, second place at the NWC Spring Classic, and first place at the NWC Tournament. Willamette won the NWC Tournament by 32 strokes with a score of even-par 576 (292-284). The Bearcats took first place at seven tournaments, placed second at two tournaments, and finished third at one event, while competing at 12 tournaments overall. WU registered team scores of 299 or lower in 18 of 23 rounds. The team achieved a low round of 9-under par 279 three times, including both rounds of the NWC Fall Classic and the second round of the George Fox University Invitational.

Srixon/Cleveland Golf NCAA Division III All-America Scholars

Headshot of Austin Davis Austin Davis (Sr.) tied for 10th at the NCAA Division III Championship and was named NCAA Division III PING First Team All-America. He was chosen All-West Region for the third time after previously earning the honor in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He graduated this year with a major in Civic Communication and Media.

This spring, Davis received First Team All-NWC recognition for the third time and was named NWC Player of the Year. He also garnered First Team All-NWC honors in 2018-19 and 2020-21. He was selected NWC Men's Golf Freshman of the Year in 2018-19.

During 2021-22, Davis took first place at four tournaments -- the Linfield Fall Invitational, NWC Fall Classic, West Region Showdown, and NWC Tournament. He finished second at the GFU Invitational and the NWC Spring Classic, and placed fourth at the NCAA Division III Fall Preview. His low round of the season was a 5-under par 67 in the third round of the NCAA Preview. He added a 4-under 68 on the first day of the NWC Fall Classic. He registered a score of 69 three times for the Bearcats.

Davis placed in the top 40 three times at the NCAA Championships. In addition to tying for 10th place this season, he tied for 24th at the 2019 NCAA Championship and tied for 40th at the 2021 NCAA Championship. Willamette finished 13th in the team standings in 2019 and tied for 11th in 2021, before tying for 19th this spring.

In his four-year career at Willamette, Davis played in 73 rounds and earned a 73.16 career unadjusted stroke average. He placed in the top 10 at 26 of 32 tournaments in his career, including 18 top 5 finishes. In 2021-22, he recorded top 10 finishes at 11 of 12 tournaments and was in the top 5 a total of seven times.

Headshot of Andrew Kibbee Andrew Kibbee (Sr.) repeated as an All-America Scholar for the second year in a row. He graduated this spring with a major in Economics.

Kibbee completed the 2021-22 season by earning All-West Region honors for the second consecutive year, and recording Third Team All-America recognition in 2020-21. He was named First Team All-NWC in 2020-21 and 2021-22 after receiving Second Team All-NWC honors in 2018-19.

At the NWC Tournament this spring, Kibbee tied for third with an outstanding 5-under par 67 in the second round, as he registered the low round of the tournament. He finished second at the NWC Fall Classic on the first playoff hole against Davis after tying for first place through regulation play. Kibbee shot a 69 in the first round and a 4-under par 68 in the second round of the Fall Classic. Also in 2021-22, Kibbee earned second place at the Linfield Invitational, the West Region Showdown, and Willamette's Spring Trilogy #3. He placed third at Spring Trilogy #1.

A strong golfer throughout his Willamette career, Kibbee took first place at two events. He won the Pacific Spring Invitational in 2018-19 and finished first at the NWC Fall Classic in 2019-20. He tied for 15th place at the 2020-21 NCAA Championship. He has competed at three NCAA Championships overall.

Headshot of Riley Lankford Riley Lankford (Sr.) was chosen for All-America Scholar recognition for the first time. He graduated from Willamette this spring with a major in Economics.

In 2021-22, Lankford competed on Willamette's team entry in a total of 16 rounds during nine tournaments, including all seven tournament in the spring. He scored 79 or lower in 13 rounds, including a low round of 73 at Spring Trilogy #1. He recorded a 74 in the second round of the NWC Tournament and produced a 75 in the first round of the Texas Cup.

Lankford golfed in 12 rounds during 2020-21 and registered two low rounds of 75. He attained the 75s in the second round of the NWC Spring Classic and the first round of the NWC Tournament.

During the past two seasons, Lankford has participated in 28 rounds, including 18 rounds of 79 or lower. He played at the NCAA Championships in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Headshot of Alex Weirth Alex Weirth (Sr.) was named an All-America Scholar for the second consecutive year. Weirth, who is majoring in Environmental Science, repeated as an Academic All-District VIII selection in 2021-22 after earning the honor for the first time in 2020-21.

This year, Weirth was chosen for the All-West Region Team for the third year in a row and was named First Team All-NWC for the second time. He tied for third place at the NWC Tournament, with sixth at the NWC Fall Classic, and tied for eight place at the NWC Spring Classic. He registered his career-low round of 5-under par 67 on his way to a second place finish at the GFU. He also grabbed second place at  Spring Trilogy #1. He was third at Sprig Trilogy #3.

During his WU career, Weirth has won two individual championships. He took first place at the GFU Invitational in 2019-20 and also won the Puget Sound Invitational during the same season. In 2020-21, he tied for 31st place at the NCAA Championship and attained third place finishes at the NWC Fall Classic and the NWC Tournament.

NOTE:  The class year listed with each student-athlete is for 2021-22. Kibbee, Lankford, and Weirth still have additional athletic eligibility that they plan to use in 2022-23.