With only limited practice time since its annual spring trip, the Williams College golf team needed impressive performances in its first two matches in order to receive one of three district NCAA Tournament berths. Going into the spring season, the Ephs were ranked second in the district to Skidmore. Unfortunately, a fourth place finish this Sunday at the District Shoot-out hurt the Ephs’ chances of reaching their NCAA goal.
Although they defeated Amherst by ten strokes, the Ephs’ two teams (Williams B and Williams A) couldn’t crack the top three, finishing fourth and fifth.
Babson College locked up an NCAA tournament berth with its strong tournament showing. Led by Mike Sexton’s four under par 67, Babson posted an impressive 298 team score to capture first, followed by Skidmore and then Middlebury. Williams B managed a 314 while Williams A finished in fifth with a 316.
This performance puts the Ephs’ postseason aspirations in doubt. “I’d like to blame the weather and the fact that another rain shortened event hurt us, but we are a very young team and not very good, yet. We have not learned to handle the distractions of playing events on our own campus. With only a few exceptions, I believe we should dominate teams that come to Taconic Golf Club,” said head coach Rick Pohle.
In their first match of the season, the Palamountain Invitational held at Skidmore, Williams finished in third place behind Skidmore and Amherst. Skidmore blew away the field with a total score of 293, securing its hold on an NCAA tourney bid. The Ephs fell behind Amherst; on his final hole of the day, an Amherst golfer holed out for an eagle two. Amherst finished with a total of 310 to grab second, while the Ephs narrowly finished in third with a score of 311.
“Getting beat by Amherst never leaves a good taste in my mouth,” said Pohle.
Phil Bartow ’02 led the Ephs with a 76. Max Montgelas ’03 followed him with a 77. First-years Will Sicks and Aaron Flink both shot 79 to pace the Williams scoring.
“I thought we played well considering this was our first match,” said Sicks, “the results were encouraging.”
It now looks like the third and final spot in the NCAA tournament will be decided this Sunday at Taconic, when the Ephs will play host to Hamilton and Middlebury. A win over Middlebury should be enough to give Williams the third bid.