Men’s golf put in a strong performance at the 32nd Annual Duke Nelson Tournament hosted by Middlebury last weekend. The Ephs navigated the par-71 Ralph Myhre Golf Course with calm precision, closing their grip on the trophy that they could feel after Day One.
All five Ephs recorded scores in the seventies on a day when low numbers were few and far between for all players from the 25 colleges that made the trip to Middlebury.
Going into the second day of competition, Williams began with a four-shot lead over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and a six shot lead over Babson College, the eventual runner-up. RPI failed to capitalize on a solid first round, recording a 313 on Day Two that dropped them into third place with a total of 622.
A second-day score of 309 also happened to be all it took for Williams to win the tournament, finishing with a total of 614 after a score of 306 on Day One.
Jacob Watt-Morse ’17 claimed medalist honors for the Ephs, even though his score was ten shots worse in his second round. A fabulous first-day score of 69 powered Watt-Morse to his first-place finish, posting a 79 on Sunday to finish with a total of 148. That number found him one shot ahead of two Trinity College golfers, Will Rosenfield and Taylor Kay-Green.
Trinity finished the tournament in sixth place, just one week after beating Williams on its home course at the Williams Invitational, in which Rosenfield was the medalist.
The depth of the Williams roster was on display for the second-straight week. Four of the men, including Michael Stone ’16, Tong Liu ’16, Ross Hoffman ’17 and Jack Coyne ’18, all earned the right to take the trip to Middlebury after their performances at the Williams Invitational.
Watt-Morse shot an impressive 73 in a qualifying round at Taconic Golf Club on Thursday, earning himself the fifth and final spot on the team. Three days later, he arrived back to campus as the medalist of this year’s Duke Nelson Golf Tournament.
Coyne capped off an impressive performance playing in his first event, shooting a second-round 74 on a day when 73 was the lowest score that the golf course offered. Liu and Hoffman went stride for stride both days, each posting a second-round score of 78 to finish with a total of 159. Likewise, Stone continued his steady play, recording two straight 79s to finish with 158, a number that landed him in a tie for 33rd. Two top-five performances from Watt-Morse and Coyne and no player outside the top 40 proved to be a winning recipe for the Ephs.
The men are excited by their recent success. “We had a great showing at Middlebury this weekend and are in good form heading into Hamilton next weekend,” co-captain Max Elgart said. “Our main goal is to win NESCACs this fall, and I think we have what it takes. I am very proud of the guys so far and am looking forward to the rest of the fall season.”
Looking ahead, Williams will travel to Hamilton this weekend to play in the Hamilton Invite. Then on Oct. 3 to 4, the focus of the NESCAC will shift back to Williamstown and to Taconic Golf Club, where the NESCAC fall qualifier will be held. A victory this past weekend can be taken as a good indication of how Williams will stack up to the rest of the NESCAC at that tournament on their home course. From there, the men will compete in the ECAC Championship at The Ranch in Southwick Mass. on Oct. 10 to 11 and conclude the fall season with their Tri Match at Ekwonak Golf Club on Oct. 12.