Finishing the fall with six top-five finishes out of seven tournaments, men’s golf saw the successful integration of a talented freshman class with the team’s experienced veteran core. Six first-years joined the team in the fall and have been instrumental in Williams’ success. GolfStat, an online database of college tournament scores and statistics, has ranked the Eph first-years as the strongest freshman class in all of NCAA Div. III golf.
With skilled players and a deep lineup, Williams has high hopes for the spring. “The team’s goals for the spring season are to win the NESCAC championship on April 27 and earn a bid to nationals which will take place in Atlanta this year, as well as to continue our dominance at the Little Three championship,” co-captain Nicholas Nottebohm ’08 said.
The men are looking to win the Little Three title for the eleventh consecutive year. This Ryder Cup-style competition between Williams, Amherst and Wesleyan will be hosted by the Ephs on April 23.
The Ephs are also hoping to qualify for the NCAA tournament for the first time in three years, a bid they could secure with a victory at the NESCAC championship. Historically, the winner of the fall conference tournament has gained a berth in the NCAA tourney, but this season the top four teams from the fall NESCAC tournament will play in the NESCAC championship during the spring. The winner of the spring contest automatically qualifies for the NCAA tournament.
“We have the strongest freshman class in the country, so the first-years will be expected to make a significant contribution towards NCAA qualification,” said Bob Camp ’11.
To prepare for the upcoming season, the team has been working on their full swings and putting in Lasell Gym. Additionally, many members of the team have taken on an intense fitness regimen, patterned after routines from top Div. I golf programs. “The golf team has been working out a significant amount during the off-season. This added muscle mass will be a huge advantage come tournament time in the spring,” Jake Wagner ’11 said. “Not only will we be in better shape, we will be able to physically intimidate other teams.”
Perhaps the most important step in preparing for the spring season will be the Ephs’ annual spring break trip to Florida. Eight players will be making the journey down to the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie for nine days of instruction and practice. A match with Wesleyan and Hamilton will place the team in a competitive situation.
The return of Matt Felser ’09 from abroad and the continued success of co-captains Brendan Conley ’08 and Nicholas Nottebohm ’08 as well as veteran Tyler Zara ’09 will be key in Williams’ campaign for the NCAA tournament.