Strong winds and some early-season jitters seemed to get the better of the Williams Men’s Golf Team over the weekend, as they struggled to an eighth place finish in the Duke Nelson Invitational at Middlebury College’s Ralph Myhre Golf Course.
The Ephs’ two-day total of 321-327-648 left them 39 shots behind champion Skidmore, the top-ranked team in District I (New England).
The finish was especially disappointing because of head-to-head losses to district rivals Babson (2nd place at 632), Middlebury (3rd at 635) and Salem State (5th at 642).
District I typically sends its top three teams to the NCAA Championships in the spring, and head-to-head comparisons are important selection criteria.
Head coach Rick Pohle voiced his disappointment in the performance saying, “It was simply a case of underachieving on our behalf coupled with a few of teams in the field putting forth excellent efforts. We have to use this as a starting point from which can improve for the rest of the season.”
The Ephs did take one major positive away from the tournament, a one-stroke head-to-head victory over ninth-place Amherst (649).
Will Sicks ’03 led the way for Williams with a two-day total of 156. Last year’s District I Freshman of the Year, Sicks carded a fine four-over-par 75 Saturday before falling back slightly with an 81 Sunday.
David Mihm ’03 contributed rounds of 82-81-163, while Max Montgelas ’03 recovered from an opening 84 to fire Williams’ low Sunday round with an 80.
Co-captain John McCoy ’01 returned from a year abroad in England to record rounds of 80 and 85 in his first collegiate action since the 1999 NCAA Tournament. Aaron Flink ’03 (86-91-177) rounded out the Ephs’ lineup.
The team will have two chances to avenge its head-to-head losses this week. They will travel to Saratoga Springs, NY, for the Skidmore Invitational Wednesday, then host the Williams Invitational Saturday and Sunday at Taconic Golf Club..
Coach Rick Pohle is counting on his team to rebound in these matches, commenting “We cannot afford to let teams like Babson, Middlebury, and Salem State get too far up on us in the head to head battles.”
“ We will see all of them several more time this fall, but sending them a quick message this week would be to our advantage.”