Going into last weekend’s NCAA District I Shoot-Out at Taconic Golf Club, the Williams golf team had the upper hand in the competition for bids to Nationals, but needed a good showing to guarantee a spot. By Sunday evening, any shadow of a doubt was erased as the Ephs shot a two day total of 617, just four shots off the pace set by Skidmore College. The strong finish earned Williams a third consecutive NCAA Championship appearance. After light rain early in the day on Saturday, the skies cleared and the scoreboard showed several low rounds on the rain-softened greens. Devin Redmond ’99 fired an even par 71 to tie for the lead. Tony McCutcheon ’99 was just two shots off the pace with 73. Also counting for the Ephs on day one were Mike Szkodzinski ’99 with a 79, and John McCoy ’01 with an 80, to yield a team total of 304.
Sunday afternoon, the course played slightly more difficult, as some tee markers were placed farther back and more difficult hole locations were used on the tricky Taconic greens.
McCoy led the way for Williams, with a one over par 72 to finish with a 36 hole total of 152. Redmond fired a 79 for 150, earning him fourth place individually. Szkodzinski added an 81 (160 total) and McCutcheon an 82 (155 total), for a total of 314, just one shot behind Skidmore for the day.
The Williams B team also played well, defeating two of the other schools in the field, and shooting 648. Andrew Arbesman ’00 and Taylor McKinley ’00 led the way with two day totals of 158 and 159, respectively. Also in the field for Williams B were Bob Stanton ’01 (166), David Feigenbaum ’01 (168), and Brian Schaub ’00 (173).
The battle for the third automatic bid from the district to NCAAs became more unclear, as #4 Amherst defeated #3 Salem State by 14 shots for the weekend. A coaches committee will decide which school will join Skidmore and Williams in Jekyll Island, Georgia, for the NCAA Division III Championships on May 10-15.
Before the team leaves for sunny Georgia, the last order of business is the Little Three Championships, which will be contested today at Amherst College. The depth of the Williams team will be an important factor in this match play, Ryder Cup format event. Eight players participate from each school, playing four alternate shot matches in the morning and eight singles matches in the afternoon. The Ephs’ chances look good to avenge last year’s loss to the Lord Jeffs and return with the Little Three title.