Golf second at Duke Nelson Inv.

Men’s golf started off in full swing this weekend, finishing in a second-place tie among a field of 20 schools at their first match of the year, the Duke Nelson Invitational. Williams opened Saturday’s tourney with a round of 314, good enough for fifth place, then battled back with a tournament-best round of 305 Sunday to finish second with a total 619 – just one stroke behind leading Clarkson University.

The tournament established Williams as a dominant golfing-force throughout in New England yet again. “We played very well in this tournament,” Head Coach Rick Pohle said. “And frankly, I was surprised at how quickly we responded to the loss of four starters to graduation. I expected that we would eventually get to this point, but to our player’s credit, they stepped up early.”

Alex Mallory ’07 led the team with rounds of 78-74 (152), followed by co-captains Ned Wydysh ’04 76-77 (153) and Bryan Harmon ’04 82-75 (157). Harmon noted the efforts of Mallory in his first tourney with the Purple and Gold, “I was pleased with the way everyone held it together. We weren’t all playing great golf, but we hung in there and put up some solid numbers,” Harmon said. “It was great to see Alex put up some really good numbers in his first college event.”

Last year’s freshman phenom Matthew Slovitt ’06 came out strong as well with a solid round of 78-79 (157). Ross Koller ’04 finished with a 85-80 (165). The outlook was positive from coach and captain alike. “We still have a lot of room for improvement in the weeks to come,” Pohle said. “Without sounding too much like a coach, we were a few swings away from walking all over the field.”

This season’s outlook for the Ephs looks as strong as ever despite losing two NCAA finalists. The roster includes three frosh, four sophomores, two juniors and three seniors. Undoubtedly, there is much to look forward to for the golf team. With the rising talent of the first-year class and the experience of the upperclassmen, there is much expectation surrounding the team. If their first tourney is any hint at what could come, the squad will have a great chance to capture a fourth straight NESCAC championship and a remarkable ninth consecutive NCAA showing.

Expectations are certainly high for Harmon, who plans to get back into action right away, “I think we gained some confidence this weekend. It will be nice to be able to jump right back out there and compete again this Wednesday and again this weekend.”

The Ephs will try to fine-tune their game before leaving Wednesday to upstate New York for the Skidmore Fall Invitational, and prepare to host their own Invitational this weekend at Taconic Golf and Country Club. The Williams Invitational will commence at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday.