Golf in search of another Little 3 title

Despite the loss of a core group of seniors to graduation, the outlook for men’s golf this year is brighter than a brand new sleeve of Titleists. Unfortunately, of the returning golfers, only Matt Slovitt ’06 contributed to the Ephs’ tremendous 16th place showing at last year’s NCAA tournament at the Domoch Golf Club in Delaware, Ohio.

Head Coach Richard Pohle will have a deep talent pool to draw upon as he attempts to guide the team to a fourth consecutive NESCAC victory, a sixth consecutive Little Three championship and a remarkable ninth consecutive NCAA showing.

The NCAA tournament was remarkable for the play of David Mihm ’03 and Will Sicks ’03, both of whom received awards as Honorable Mention All Americans. Everything came together for the Ephs on the third day of the event when they combined to shoot 295, a record- setting performance.

The team will receive a boost from the return of Ross Koller ’04, who studied abroad last year after being named NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2002. Koller brings a stellar short game and an established presence to the course and, along with co-captains Ned Wydysh ’04 and Bryan Harmon ’04 will serve as a resource for the team’s new arrivals.

Some names to watch for in the weeks ahead include Will Sirignano, ’06, John Kildahl ’06, Zack MacArthur ’05 and first-year phenoms Jon Hillman ’07, Kevin Kellert ’07 and Alex Mallory ’07, all of whom have a shot at making the tournament squad.

The first years will have to prove themselves quick studies of the beautiful Taconic Golf Course, which sits just beyond the South end of the football field. Taconic demands accurate shot-placement and a delicate touch on and around the greens and rewards players who know how the ball rolls in certain locations.

Several greens slope back to front, and the experienced player knows that it can be nearly impossible to stop the ball on the putting surface from above the hole on numbers six and 10 when the greens are rolling firm.

The knowledge accumulated during practice rounds will serve the Ephs well when they host the NESCAC tournament over the weekend of Sept. 27 and 28. The team will also play multiple rounds in Saratoga Springs at the Skidmore Invitational this coming weekend and the ECAC tournament the following week. As always, the competition will be gunning for the Ephs who once again stand out as a top regional team.

If Koller picks up where he left off before his year away from the team and some of the new arrivals establish themselves by scoring in the mid 70s, the departure of last year’s seniors will not overshadow the squad in the weeks to come. There is no reason why the string of successes the ’03 golfers enjoyed should keep the current team from performing at the high level the team has come to expect from themselves.