Men's Golf | Golf finishes 12th in field of 18 at Williams Invitational
Williams dominates field to win home tournament
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 07:09
Its first three weekends have been trying for the coed golf team. With three bottom−half finishes in three tournaments, the team is looking to put their difficult start behind them.
This past weekend, the Jumbos traveled to compete in the Williams Invitational at Taconic Golf Club. However, the course, owned by Williams College, is a par−71, 6754−yarder and an extremely challenging course, and provided the Ephs with a strong home field advantage.
Williams dominated, finishing with four of the five lowest individual scores, with Hamilton’s Greg Scott (3rd) being the only non−Williams player in the top five. More importantly, the team finished first with a two−day total of 584, scoring a remarkably consistent 292 on both days and defeating second place Middlebury College by 15 strokes.
The Jumbos once again found themselves near the back of the pack, finishing 12th out of the 18 teams competing, and were hampered by having to start on the challenging back nine on both days.
“Taconic is one of the more difficult courses we play, especially the back nine,” freshman Jay Wong said. “We were probably unfortunate in having to start on the backside both days — [but] that’s not to blame for our poor finish. We know we are a lot better than we have finished in our past three tournaments, we just have not been able to put the pieces together.”
After day one, Tufts’ 321 strokes left the team tied for 14th with Castleton State College. Wong and sophomore co−captain Alex Zorniger led the Jumbos’ Saturday scoring, both managing an eleven−over−par 82. Not far behind was sophomore John Wawer, who scored an 83, and freshman Brendan Koh, who shot an 84.
Day two provided a bit of a rebound, as Wong finished with an impressive score of 75. His teammates, though, did not have equal success.
Wawer repeated his day one performance, shooting another 83, sophomore Nick Dorian shot an 81 and Koh’s 85 was the last qualifying score for Sunday. However, Wong’s two−day total of 157 was good enough to tie for 16th place in the 96−man playing field.
Williams teammates Dylan Dethier and Matt McCarron shared the winning score of 149. The latter had an eight−footer to win the tournament, but saw his putt lip out and instead had to settle for a tie.
Though they didn’t finish with the strongest result, the Jumbos did improve 11 strokes on Sunday, scoring a 310 and bringing their two−day score to 631 strokes, 47 shots off the lead.
“We certainly didn’t play our best out there,” Zorniger said. “But the season is young and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the scores start to come down quickly.”
Not only is the season young, but the team is also. With five freshmen, two sophomores and just four upperclassmen, the Jumbos still have time to grow. It is a welcome sight for the team to see some signs that the youth is starting to move in the right direction.
“I wasn’t surprised to see that Jay [Wong] played well on Sunday,” senior co−captain Mike McCarthy, who was unable to compete this past weekend, said. “[Jay has] been tearing it up in the practice rounds, especially in the team doubles practice match we had on Friday.”
As is usually the case with young teams, optimism is winning out against panic among the team leaders. Tangible, measurable improvements become a question of when and not if.
“I think that as we finally settle into a practice rhythm this week we will begin to see those strokes come off,” McCarthy said.
Next weekend the Jumbos will compete in the NESCAC Championship Qualifier held at Hickory Ridge Golf Club in Amherst, Mass. The tournament will decide which four of the ten conference schools qualify for the spring championship, and the squad is hopeful that it can pick up its game in time for the critical competition.
“On the first day [at Taconic] we did 20 shots better as a team on the front side than we did on the back,” Wong said. “I know that we have a team that has the ability to perform well under pressure — hopefully that nerve will allow us to finish well at NESCAC’s.”
Williams looks to be the early favorite, having won two of the season’s first three tournaments, and finishing fourth at the Duke Nelson Invitational two weekends ago. History favors Middlebury, though, as they have earned the title two years in a row.