The NESCAC Championship had not been kind to the Williams Golf Team in recent years.
In 1998, an unheralded Hamilton team came out of nowhere to overtake the Ephs and claim the title.
Last season, inclement weather forced the cancellation of the second round and gave Middlebury the championship over Williams by a single shot.
Thus it was with great pleasure that Eph golfers finally exorcised the demons last weekend and claimed their first conference title since 1996.
Williams fought off strong winds and a firm Ralph Myhre Golf Course in Middlebury, Vermont, to fire a two-day winning total of 645. Arch-rival Amherst and host Middlebury tied for second at 659, 14 shots back.
“The high scores give you a pretty good feel for how difficult the course was playing,” commented Will Sicks ’03, who led the Ephs with a two-day total of 80-79 = 159.
Sicks was joined at the top by classmate Aaron Flink ’03, who matched the 159 total with rounds of 79 and 80. The strong finish was a welcome turnaround for Flink, who had struggled in early season action.
Flink and Sicks tied for second overall in the championship, one stroke behind David Greiner of Middlebury. Flink and Sicks were both First Team All-NESCAC selections, as was first-year Ned Wydysh.
Wydysh continued his solid play, recording rounds of 81 and 80 to place fifth individually.
The weekend was more of a struggle for sophomore Max Montgelas, who narrowly missed Second Team All-NESCAC honors with rounds of 81-85 = 166.
Montgelas appeared to be in good position to claim a position on the second team before getting into trouble and making an eight on his 17th hole Sunday.
According to Williams coach Rick Pohle, the strong winds made occasional bad holes a fact of life for all of the teams in the tournament.
Pohle commented, “To our credit, I think we handled the big numbers a little better than our opponents. We played an awful lot of good holes over the two days, but ran into a few speed bumps along the way that ballooned our totals.
Fortunately none of our guys gave up or got down on themselves.
They worked hard to keep things in hand and that put us over the top in the end.”
In addition to the satisfaction of claiming the conference championship, the Ephs were especially pleased to pick up another head-to-head win over Middlebury. The victory evened the Ephs’ series with the Panthers to 2-2 on the season.
The team will have this weekend off before heading to the Western New England Invitational October 12.
In additional action, first-year Kate Nicoll (Wayzata, MN) captured Williams’ first women’s individual title. Nicoll carded back-to-back rounds of 85 for a total of 170, edging Colby’s Beth Monahan by nine shots. Kristin EngelbrechtBleem ’04 also competed, shooting 105-101 = 206 to place 11th. The women’s club team will be in action this Saturday against Amherst at Taconic Golf Club.