Golf takes fourth at Skidmore

Men’s golf started off their spring season last Monday at the Skidmore Paramountain Invitational, tying with Hamilton for fourth place in a field of 18. Although the finish was respectable, it was somewhat disappointing for a squad long on talent and accustomed to low scores. The Ephs took consolation from the fact that the Skidmore course was tough playing under early spring conditions. No golfer finished under par for the day, with medalist honors going to Brian Williams of Hamilton at 2 over 74.

Matt Slovitt ’06 showed up his more experienced teammates with a score of 77, good enough for fourth place overall and two shots better than his fellow Hoosier Dave Mihm ’03 who finished in a six-way tie for eleventh place. Will Sicks ’03 and Max Montgelas ’03 rounded out the scoring with an 82 and an 85, respectively, for a team total of 323, 13 strokes behind a surprisingly strong St. Lawrence team that featured two golfers in the top three.

Skidmore finished in second place at 317, while Salem State edged out the Ephs with a team effort of 320. Ned Wydysh ’04 turned in an uncharacteristically poor round of 93 and was philosophical about the team’s performance. “Monday was a tough day for all of us, especially myself,” Wydysh said. “I’m confident that we’re capable of turning things around.”

The links-men had a chance to improve on their fourth place finish last Thursday at the Massachusetts Intercollegiate tournament. Each golfer came out firing on all cylinders. Sicks posted a 77, Aaron Flink ’03 and Mihm both shot 78s and Slovitt finished at 79. The total was good enough to clinch the team’s first victory of the season, as the Ephs finished three shots ahead of Harvard and four ahead of perennial rival Salem State. The victory was made sweet by the fact that it was as much of a team effort as is possible in an individual sport. Although no one shot stands out, all five golfers played solidly and broke 80, the only team in the field to demonstrate that kind of depth and consistency.

Last weekend the Ephs hosted the District Shoot-Out over Saturday and Sunday. For the visiting teams, any tournament at Taconic is special because Williams boasts one of the very best college golf courses in existence. Home tournaments are also a treat for the Ephs because their knowledge of Taconic’s bumps and bends gives them an edge over the competition.

This local knowledge advantage is more significant than at other courses because, as anyone who has tried to putt on the sixth green can vouch, Taconic’s rolling greens and tricky fairways can be extremely difficult to negotiate for golfers without previous experience. For the seniors on the team, the tournament marked their last home tournament at Taconic, so if experience was going to pay off, this was their opportunity.

Saturday’s round was made difficult by the cold and wet playing conditions. Poorly struck shots stung the golfers’ hands and balls plugged easily in the soggy fairways, robbing solid drives of distance but helping out on accuracy. Flink turned in an excellent round of 75, and the team managed to stay in contention despite the weather. When Sunday dawned clear and sunny the Ephs were well positioned to make a run at the winners circle.

Unfortunately, although the team played well, Skidmore had a few more putts fall at the end of the day, and took home the trophy with a two-day total of 595. Williams finished in second place, but the individual results were encouraging. Slovitt continued his excellent play with a 76, Flink managed to keep the snowman off of his card with a 79, Mihm fired a solid 74 and Sicks turned in an excellent round of 73.

A final bright spot for the Ephs was the play of Bryan Harmon ’04, who turned in a career best score of 70 on Sunday while competing as an individual. Other team members who played well individually were John Kildash ’06, at 79, who as a Williamstown native has been playing Taconic for years, and Wydysh, who came back strong with a 78.

The team swings back into action this weekend at the Little Three Championship at Wesleyan.

According to Kildash, the team is teed off about an article that appeared in the Wesleyan paper bashing Williams students as racist wanna-be-yuppies who wear pink polo shirts with the collars turned up. The Ephmen will be easily identified in their bid to win their fifth consecutive Little Three Championship, in their classic pink polos, acquired specially for the occasion.