SALEM — Ilwaco High School graduate Kenneth Sheldon (class of 2015) helped the Willamette University Bearcats to a 13th place finish at the Division III National Championships with a four-day score of 315 Tuesday through Friday May 14-17 at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
The Bearcats were playing in their first NCAA tournament. The school reached eight NAIA championship tournaments before moving up to NCAA D-III in 1998-99. Willamette won an automatic bid to the 42-team tournament by winning the Northwest Conference championship in April. The thirteenth-place finish was their highest ever at any national tournament.
“I’m excited for Kenneth,” said Dan Whealdon, his high school coach during his freshman and sophomore years. “He’s a great young man; he was a great junior golfer and a great high school player.”
The Keene Trace club consists of two courses, the Keene Run and Champion Trace. The tournament was played at both courses.
Sheldon shot 77 on Tuesday, 81 Wednesday, 79 Thursday and 78 Friday. He joined Austin Davis (four-day score of 299) Sam Hinton (302), Trent Jones (315) and Andrew Kibbee (322) in contributing to Willamette’s four-day team score of 1228 (the top four scores on a team each day counted). Illinois Wesleyan won the tournament with a 22-over par 1174.
Sheldon’s other career highlights include tying the school record with an eight-under-par round (64) in 2017.