Battered by rain, men’s golf drops tiebreaker to Middlebury

The past week proved frustrating for men’s golf, which lost a tie-breaker for first place to Middlebury at last Wednesday’s Skidmore Invitational. Over the weekend, the team saw their chances for a home course comeback on the second day of play at the Williams Invitational washed away by Sunday morning rain.

Despite coming away from the week without a victory, the squad demonstrated its extraordinary depth, and the week marked the emergence of the talented Matt Slovitt ’06.

The team remains confident in their abilities, and hopes that their luck will even out next week at the NESCAC tournament.

Williams welcomed 24 teams from around the country to the beautiful Taconic golf course on Saturday. The Ephs entered two teams in the event, and both posted strong opening day scores of 299 and 302.

The most impressive round of the day by an Eph golfer was turned in by Slovitt, who shot an incredible one-under-par 70 for the B team.

“I was really happy to have played well, especially because my first college tournament round was less than spectacular,” Slovitt said. “Anyone on our team has the capability to shoot 70 on Taconic; on Saturday, it just happened to be my day.”

The Williams A team was led by Sicks and Mihm, who shot a pair of solid 72s to tie for eighth place overall. Both Sicks and Mihm came out of the gate strong on the front nine, but had a few errant shots on the back push them just over par for the day.

Ned Wydysh ’04 and Max Montgelas ’03 shot a 77 and a 78, respectively, to round out the Eph scoring total.

The team went to bed on Saturday night tied for fourth place, but confident that they had a good chance to make a comeback charge on Sunday. Unfortunately, heavy overnight rains left the course soggy and unplayable, and the Ephs had to settle for the fourth place finish.

The loss at Saratoga earlier in the week was especially disappointing because Williams had defeated the Panthers by a convincing 16-stroke margin only last weekend – and on Middlebury’s home course to boot.

This week the Eph attack was led by Will Sicks ’03 and Aaron Flink ’03, who fired matching 73s to tie for second place overall behind Middlebury’s Damon Gacicia. David Mihm ’03 finished right on the heels of Sicks and Flink, posting a 74 to come in at third. The scoring was rounded out by Slovitt, who ended his first varsity match tied for 33rd place.

As Williams and Middlebury both posted totals of 305, the scores of each team’s fifth golfer decided the event, and Middlebury pulled out the victory by a single stroke.

Despite the defeat, Mihm was optimistic about the team’s performance: “We had three guys play well at Skidmore,” he said. “It was disappointing losing the tie-breaker to Middlebury, but we did pick up what will be a very important victory over Skidmore when it comes time for seeding for nationals.”

Emory University took the win, and Skidmore exacted a measure of revenge on the Ephs, riding a spectacular round of 68 from their number three player Ross Morgan to finish in second place.

“The rainout was disappointing, because we didn’t get a chance to try to win the thing, but that’s just how things work out sometimes,” Slovitt said. “Our hats go off to both Emory and Skidmore, who played stellar golf the first day.”

Mihm agreed that the fourth place finish is nothing to be ashamed of. “We’re definitely capable of shooting in the 285-290 range, but it’s tough to complain about any score under 300, regardless of where we finish in relation to the field.”

The fine showing by the Eph B squad demonstrated just how difficult it is for Head Coach Rick Pohle to choose five golfers to represent the team each week.

The depth of the team will be an important asset late in the season, and bodes well for future years.

This Thursday the team will travel back to Saratoga to compete in the ECAC qualifying tournament. Over the weekend the Ephs will be gunning for Middlebury in the NESCAC tournament, which they will try to take home for the third consecutive year.

“It would be nice to pay Middlebury back at their home course,” Mihm said.