The Williams golf team traveled to Rochester on Thursday to partake in one of the premier division three tournaments of the year.
With top-ranked teams in the field, including Greensboro, Skidmore and UCSD, the Ephs entered as the underdog. Though the team struggled to put together a group effort, certain individuals challenged this elite crew and turned the heads of some top-ranked teams.
Will Sicks ’03 led the team on Friday with a 76, placing him in the top ten. Despite this effort, the team found itself among the lower ranks after the first day.
The second day, held at a former Ryder Cup course, featured the same distances and hole locations the professionals faced back in 1995. With these challenging conditions ahead, coach Rick Pohle warned the team not to get too aggressive.
The team fought back, coming within strokes of several top ranked teams and catching the school of Allegheny, who bested them by ten strokes the day before.
Max Montgelas ’03 led the charge with a 76, only one stroke behind the low score of the day. Phil Bartow ’02 and Aaron Flink ’03 helped the effort by throwing up 81s.
The weekend continued at home on Sunday with a big tournament against Skidmore, Hamilton and Middlebury. This event would determine the third and final NCAA spot.
Skidmore and Babson had secured the first two, and the last would go to either Middlebury or Williams. While the Ephs defeated Middlebury in the fall, the Panthers had made a charge in the spring, including a victory at the Taconic, Williams’ home course.
If Middlebury won on Sunday the two teams would finish with equal standings, which might give Middlebury the edge, due to its spring performance. Williams took to the course bent on earning its fifth straight trip to Nationals.
Sunday’s drama was intensified by the low temperatures and gusty winds. After nine holes, Williams led by a mere two strokes.
On the back nine, though, the young Williams squad showed their determination, stepping up their games and holding off the Middlebury charge.
Ned May ’03, a new addition to the top five, led the team with a 76, earning him most valuable player for the Ephs. Sicks and Flink both fired 79s, lowering the Williams score to 317, a mere four strokes ahead of Middlebury. Bartow and Montgelas rounded out the top five with strong performances.
With the momentum of this victory in hand, the Ephs will travel to Wesleyan on Tuesday to defend their Little III title.