Last weekend, men’s golf took to the NESCAC Fall Qualifier at the par-72 Skenandoa Golf Club, home to the Hamilton golf team. The top four teams at the end of the tournament compete for a spot in the NCAA Div. III Championships in May.
On Day One, Middlebury came out with a superb performance, shooting a team score of 297. Hamilton showed how comfortable it is at its home course with a second-place finish, shooting a 301. Trinity, just a shot behind Hamilton, held sole possession of third place. Williams rounded out the coveted fourth spot with a team score of 305.
Co-captain Jake Goldenring ’15 led the way for the Ephs, shooting a superb round of 74. Grant Raffel ’17 followed Goldenring’s strong performance with one of his own, posting 75. Co-captain Nate McCue ’15 carded a round of 76, highlighted by three birdies on the first nine. Ross Hoffman ’17 rounded out the scores for the Ephs with a score of 80.
Raffel led the way for the Ephs on Day Two, shooting a final round of 70, a two-under par total, which was the lowest individual score of the tournament, and it was enough to capture medalist honors with a total score of 145. Following Raffel were Goldenring with a 149, and McCue, who carded a 150. Both Goldenring and McCue shot matching 75s on Day Two. Goldenring finished the weekend in a tie for seventh, while McCue ended in a tie for ninth. Their admirable play gave the Ephs a real chance at winning the event.
Michael Stone ’16 shot a two-day 159 and Hoffman turned in a 158 after both men shot 78 on Day Two of the tournament.
Ultimately, Middlebury held on to its overnight lead. Hamilton repeated its strong play, its players proving their grip once again on their home course. Williams and Trinity both shot 603 to finish in a tie for third.
With a third place finish at this weekend’s NESCAC Fall Qualifier, the men earned a spot in the spring NESCAC Championships, which serve as the NCAA Div. III Championship Qualifier.
“This weekend was a good weekend for us. Saturday we didn’t play all that well but on Sunday we came out firing and shot our low of the season thus far,” Goldenring said. “Shooting such a low number reminded us all that we can still compete for titles and we will ride this newfound confidence into the Spring with a goal of winning NESCACS and qualifying for NCAAs.
The Ephs’ next match is the ECAC Championships on Oct. 11-12 at Crumpin-Fox in Bernardston, Mass.