Men’s golf kicked off the spring season with a third place finish at the Palamountain Invitational, hosted by Skidmore College last weekend. The two-day event was played at Saratoga National on Sunday and McGregor Links on Monday. The Ephs were led by co-captain Brendan Conley ’08 and Jake Wagner ’11, who individually tied for ninth with scores of 156. Conley’s first-round 74 was the lowest round posted by the Ephs.
“When we teed off Sunday the temperature was probably around 50 degrees and there was little wind,” said Matt Felser ’09. “By the back nine, however, it had dropped down near 40 with a very cold wind that not only made us colder but also affected our ball flights. Turns out it’s pretty hard to hit a golf ball when you can’t feel your hands, which makes Brendan’s 74 in these conditions all the more impressive.”
The drastic change in temperature was evident in the Ephs’ scoring. The majority of the team posted scores around even-par on the front nine on Sunday and the dropping temperatures caused scores to rise into the forties on the back nine. The Ephs finished Day 1 with a total of 313, four strokes back of Hamilton, and 18 strokes back of Skidmore.
Continued low temperatures and the quirky course orientation at McGregor Links frustrated the Ephs on Day 2. “The course was like a bowling alley, with houses and out-of-bounds on both sides of the fairway,” Wagner said.
This constriction, combined with some errant tee-shots due to the cold weather, caused scores to balloon. The Ephs fired 326 in the second round for a total score of 639, good enough for third place behind victors Skidmore (600) and runner-up Hamilton (632).
Williams fared well against NESCAC competition, trailing Hamilton by only seven shots and finishing five ahead of Middlebury. “We can keep up with Hamilton, which will be crucial at the NESCAC championship,” Wagner said.
Overall the Ephs are pleased with last weekend’s invitational. “It was nice to get a weekend of competition under our belts. We all know where our games stand now and none of them are where we want them to be or where they should be,” said Felser. “We just have to get back out on the range and work the kinks out and get ready for the rest of the season.”
Next up on the Ephs’ schedule is the WNEC Invitational tomorrow at Veterans Memorial GC in Springfield, Mass. This weekend, Williams hosts the inaugural Williams-Middlebury Cup Matches.