Women’s golf emerges victorious in NESCAC Championship

Phoebe Mattana ’18 came in first place in the tournament last weekend with a total score of 152.
Phoebe Mattana ’18 came in first place in the tournament last weekend with a total score of 152.

After a week of practicing in hail, snow and wind, women’s golf took a first-place finish at its home tournament last weekend. The Ephs were happy for the opportunity to play in sunshine, regardless of a prevailing wind. Due to the harsh winter and variable weather conditions, the William’s Spring Invitational could not be played at the Ephs’ home course, Taconic. Instead, the tournament was hosted at Waubeeka Golf Links, one of the other well-known courses in the Berkshires. Williams fielded two teams, which finished first and second. Team A led the pack, shooting 618, while Team B shot 640, three strokes ahead of third-place Middlebury. After the first day of competition, the Williams Team A posted 318 to lead the Williams Team B by four strokes.

Middlebury, in third place, posted 324, and Amherst posted 326. The course conditions were still wet and the wind picked up just as players started teeing off. Players played the tournament under the “lift, clean and place” rule that was also in effect for the bunkers, similar to tournaments in prior weeks. The wind was hard to judge at times for players, especially on approach shots; in some cases, the way the wind was blowing in the fairway was not the same as wind direction on the green. Leading after the first day of the tournament was Phoebe Mattana ’18. Tied for second were Middlebury’s Hope Matthews and Amherst’s Jamie Gracie with a pair of 77s. Three Ephs were tied in fourth place with 78s: Sophie Kitchen ’17, co-captain Caroline Sawin ’15 and Elizabeth Gudas ’18. The Ephs had six players in the top 10. Since this was the Williams home event, all 10 players on the team played, together creating two teams. Team A included co-captain Shelby Shote ’15, Sarah Hasselman ’17, Tracey Kim ’17, Kitchen and Mattana. Mattana led the way with a 75, while Kitchen also finished with a sub-80 round, tallying a 77. Shote shot an 82, Kim carded an 83 and Hasselman finished with an 86 to round out the team’s scoring.

Overall, Team A shot 318. Team B included Paige Whidbee ’15, Kelly Kung ’17, Madeline Abrahams ’18, Sawin and Gudas. Sawin and Gudas notched the lowest scores of the team, each posting 78. Whidbee shot an 80, Abrahams finished with an 86 and Kung tallied a 90. Team B shot a 322 overall for an impressive second-place finish behind their teammates. On Sunday, Team A captured first place with a two-day score of 618. Sunday’s score was 300, breaking the previous school record of 301 by one stroke. The previous record was set last September at The Orchards in South Hadley, Mass. The weather on Sunday was overcast with intermittent gusts of wind, forcing players to play shots low or risk unstable ball flights. The course was still wet and spongey, which made for uncertain shots if casual water could not be declared. Eph Head Coach Bill Kangas ensured that the “lift, clean, and place” rule carried over from Saturday for exactly these situations. Temperatures varied throughout the day as the sun came in and out of view, compelling players to alternatively take off jackets and warm their hands in pockets. Mattana shot a 77 to come in first place overall with a two-day total of 152. Kitchen finished in third, posting a Day Two 76 to round out a two-day total of 154. Team A was led by Hasselman, who carded an impressive 73 on the tricky par-71 course. Hasselman was supported by Shote, who, after one-putting the final three holes, came in with a three-over-par 74. Kitchen’s 76 was included in the team’s top four scores, along with Mattana’s 77. Team A was rounded out by an 83 from Kim. Whidbee performed admirably for Team B on Day Two, shooting a 75. Sawin finished with a 79, while Gudas posted an 80 and Kung and Abrahams carded 84 and 85, respectively. “I’m very proud of everyone on our team for the way we performed this weekend,” Shote said. “The fact that our A team and B team placed first and second is a testament to how talented our team is. Breaking our school record on our last day of regular season was just icing on the cake. All the seniors in shot in the 70s on Sunday and that was a great way for us to finish our last time playing with all of our teammates.” The women will find out if they have advanced to the NCAA Div. III Championships in early May.