Men’s golf dominates field at Taconic for third victory

Men’s golf continued its impressive run of play last weekend, capturing the Williams Spring Opener at Taconic in convincing fashion. The men battled extremely difficult weather all weekend to shoot 303 on Saturday and 301 on Sunday for a 604 total. Williams amassed an 18-shot margin of victory over five other NESCAC schools: Trinity (622), Hamilton (625), Middlebury (644), Amherst (649) and Wesleyan (677). Bob Camp ’11 captured the individual title by four shots after posting two stellar rounds of 72 for a 144 total.

“The team showed great character in the face of tough conditions,” Camp said. “It was certainly more difficult having to deal with the wind, rain, cold, a renovated beast of a golf course and stiff competition. I think we can look positively on this weekend as a momentum-builder going forward to next week’s NESCAC championship and the bid to nationals. It is always great to win at home, and we look forward to doing so again next weekend.”

The teams stepped to the tee on Sunday in first place with a slim three-shot lead over Trinity. Camp teed off first and strolled down the fairway to a birdie, setting the tone for what would be an unbelievable round of 72. He came from behind in the second round to snatch tournament medalist honors out of the hands of Trinity first-year Alex Birmingham, who shot 148 on the weekend. Jack Ervasti ’13 was rock solid on Sunday and posted a 75 to complement an equally impressive 77 from Saturday; he ended the day with a record fourth place finish individually. He remains the only player on the team to post scores in the 70s in every competitive round this spring. Jack Killea ’11 was the other player to contribute a score to the team total on both days, postings rounds of 79 and 77 for a 156 total and a ninth-place finish.

Ephs Jake Wagner ’11, Drew Murray ’11 and Wyatt Sparks ’13 completed the line-up for Williams for the weekend, as the best four scores out of a team’s six competitors each day counted towards the team total. Wagner opened with an impressive 75 and finished sixth overall at 155. Murray rebounded from a middling day Saturday on Sunday with a solid 77 and a two-day total of 161, while Sparks posted an 80 on the first day but struggled a bit on the second to finish with a two-day total of 167.

A host of other Ephs competed as individuals to display the incredible depth of the program. Siwol Chang ’12, Ari Kerstein ’12, Mario Mastromarino ’12, Chris Valle ’12, Alex Xu ’13 and Hrishi Srinagesh ’13 all played admirably despite the weekend’s horrid weather.

“I am very proud of what our gentlemen accomplished this weekend,” Head Coach Rick Pohle said. “It is often surprisingly difficult to play well at home because of extra pressure, high expectations and the potential for night-time distractions, but the guys went out and took care of business.”

Pohle is still looking for improvement, however, as his team moves into championship season this weekend. “We certainly still have some work to do this spring in terms of the mental aspects of the game,” he said. “The boys need to have more self-confidence and realize the potential power of self-fulfilling prophesies in golf and recognize that they need to stay positive on the course at all times.”

The team will host the NESCAC Championship at Taconic next weekend. Trinity, Middlebury, Hamilton and Williams will compete for the conference’s lone bid to the NCAA Championship. Tee-off will be at 11 a.m. Saturday.

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