Men’s golf began its regular season last weekend with a fifth-place finish in the Bowdoin Invitational at the par-72 Brunswick Golf Course. Coming off a victory at the event last year, expectations were high for the experienced team that tied for 26th in last year’s NCAA Div. III Nationals.
The Ephs, led by Head Coach Josh Hillman, started off strong on the opening Saturday. Playing with favorable conditions on Day One, co-captain Cody Semmelrock ’14 blazed out to a team-best 73. After a slow start with a bogey on the opening hole, Semmelrock finished strong, ending the steady round with three bogeys and two birdies. Rookie Grant Raffel ’17 put together another strong performance. In his NCAA debut, Raffel battled through a shaky front nine score of 42 and settled down on the back with a score of 34, for a very respectable 76 on the day. Tony Liu ’16 and co-captain Dylan Dethier ’14 penciled in matching 80s, with co-captain Ross Bowen ’14 coming in one behind with a score of 81. This brought the Ephs into third place after one day with a combined score of 309, trailing Middlebury at 306 and Husson at 305.
On Sunday, sitting in a position to take home the title, the Ephs unfortunately came out a little less inspired. Dealing with some nasty weather that put a halt to the low scoring rounds of the day before, the team put together a disappointing 328 on Sunday, adding up to a 637 two-day total to finish in fifth place. The men were 32 strokes behind the victorious Middlebury team, who finished with a two-day score of 605. Liu tallied a total of 87 on Sunday, while Bowen shot an 85, posting two-day totals of 167 and 166, respectively. Semmelrock cooled off from his great Saturday effort with an 85 to net a score of 158 and tie with Dethier, who rebounded on Sunday with an impressive 78 despite tough conditions. Raffel put together a very respectable 80 on Sunday, bringing his two-day total to 156, the lowest total score for the team in his first college tournament. His 156 was good for seventh place individually at the invitational.
“We had a tough trip up to Bowdoin last weekend,” Head Coach Josh Hillman said. “We didn’t quite get the start we wanted for the season. But we’re back here this week, working hard and getting ready for Middlebury this weekend.”
The men will look to rebound with a strong performance at the Duke Nelson Invitational hosted by Middlebury this weekend, where they will play the second of three tournaments before the important NESCAC fall qualifiers, which will be played at Brunswick Golf Course on Sept. 28 and 29.