Men's Golf Headed To NESCAC Qualifier
September 30, 2010
Trinity College will begin the defense of its first NESCAC crown this weekend when the Bantams host the NESCAC Golf Championship Qualifier at Shuttle Meadow Country Club in Kensington, Conn. The two-day, 36-hole qualifying event will feature all 10 conference teams, and the highest finisher from this weekend will host the spring championship round with the top four teams vying for the 2011 NESCAC title. The first group tees off on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 11:00 a.m., and the qualifier concludes on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 11:00 a.m.
After coming oh-so-close to winning the NESCAC championship multiple times in recent years, the Bantams broke through last season for their first conference title in the 26-year history of the event. Trinity finished third at the 2009 fall qualifier, then went to the Taconic Golf Course in the spring and carded a blistering 293 for a 15-stroke advantage over the field on day one. The Bantams continued their impressive play on day two and finished Sunday's round with a 305 for a two-day total of 598, 16 strokes ahead of the squad that had denied Trinity the 2006 and 2009 championships via tie-breaker, second-place Middlebury. Having three of the top five individual finishers at the spring championship keyed the Bantams' 2010 title run, however two of those three linksmen, former NESCAC Players of the Year Reid Longley and Josh Grossman, graduated this past May. The Bantams head into the weekend after posting an eighth place performance at the annual Duke Nelson Invitational at Middlebury on Sept. 18-19 and coming in fifth at the Williams Invitational this past weekend. Looking to lead a youthful Trinity squad past the determined field and back to the championship round for the fourth year in a row will be junior Alex Bermingham (Bedford, N.Y.) and senior Jay Driscoll (Milton, Mass.). Bermingham, who earned All-NESCAC First Team honors as a sophomore last fall, finished first at the NESCAC championship in the spring (145, +3) after leading his team at the fall qualifier (147, +5) with a second place performance. Driscoll, himself an All-NESCAC honoree in 2008, completed the spring championship in a three-way tie for 11th (158, +16). Sophomore Jack Palley (Pelham, Mass.) will also be one to watch, as he has paced Trinity at two of its last three outings.
Looking to win the fall qualifier for the second year in a row, and along with it the right to host the spring championship, will be a Williams squad that may just be peaking at the right time. After tying for 13th at the Duke Nelson two weeks ago, the Ephs put together a dominating performance at the Williams Invitational at Taconic where they finished first out of a field that featured eight NESCAC teams, carding a combined 591 - 20 strokes ahead of second place Middlebury. Williams was propelled to victory thanks to three top-five individual finishes, as senior Robert Camp (Raleigh, N.C.) celebrated his birthday on Sunday with a two-under round of 69 to earn medalist honors (143, +1). The two-time All-NESCAC selection, who turned in the lowest score for his team for the second weekend in a row, was joined atop the leader board at the Williams Invitational by senior Jack Killea (Katy, Texas) and sophomore Jack Ervasti (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Ervasti tied for second (+3), just two strokes behind Camp, while Killea, also a two-time All-NESCAC honoree, came in fifth (146, +4). The trio are a part of a Williams squad, always know for its talent and depth, that has won a conference-best 10 titles, including six of the past 10 championships. Last year, the Ephs edged Hamilton by two strokes (595) at the fall qualifier but came up short in their quest for another NESCAC championship, finishing fourth in the spring with a two-day total of 620. Williams' most recent NESCAC title came in 2008 when the championship round was held at Shuttle Meadow.
Middlebury heads into the weekend with a bit of momentum of its own after claiming sixth at the Duke Nelson and tying for second at the Williams Invitational, and the Panthers will again be among the challengers for top honors at the fall qualifier this weekend. The Panthers have been one of the most successful squads in recent years in NESCAC play, winning two of their three league titles in 2006 and 2008 and finishing second in 2009. Last fall, Middlebury turned in two steady rounds at the Waubeeka Golf Links and qualified for the spring championship with a fourth place performance. The Panthers' consistency was once again on display in April, as two-time All-NESCAC recipients Jim Levins (Rutland, Vt.) and Brian Cady (Rye, N.Y.) led their team to second (614) by tying for second with scores of 146 (+4). The senior tandem has been a big part of Middlebury's success this season, with Cady pacing the Panthers in each of the last two weeks. Cady finished tied for eighth at the Duke Nelson with a score of 150 (+8) and carded a similar score at the Williams Invitational last weekend, tying for ninth. Levins, who led the Panthers at their season-opening match at St. Lawrence (148, +4), was second only to Cady among his teammates at the Williams Invitational with a two-day total of 153 (+11) and finished tied for 16th overall. Rookie addition Rob Donahoe (Canton, Mass.) could be among the challengers for individual honors this weekend. The first year has performed well at his two outings this fall, coming in second to Levins at the St. Lawrence Invitational (T-17 153, +9) and again behind Levins (T-21, 154, +12) at the Williams Invitational.
Other teams that will be in the hunt for a top four finish this weekend will be Hamilton, Amherst, Tufts, and Colby. Since the conference adopted a fall qualifier and spring championship format in 2007, the Continentals join Middlebury, Trinity and Williams as the only four teams to have reached the championship round every year it has been held. Hamilton came within two strokes of hosting the 2010 finals last October and went on to earn a third place championship finish. The Continentals have three NESCAC titles to their credit (1990, 1998, 2003) and three second-place showings since their last title. In September, Hamilton was the top NESCAC performer at the Duke Nelson, coming in fourth overall (616), and placed sixth at the Williams Invitational. Tufts, Amherst and Colby just missed the cut last fall, and all three teams will be teeing off in the first wave on Saturday. The Jumbos were third after day one at Waubeeka but a disappointing day two round of 325 put a shot at the championship out of reach, as they finished in fifth (625). Following a tie for 11th at the Duke Nelson, Tufts came away with eighth at the Williams Invitational. The Lord Jeffs tied with the Mules for sixth at the 2009 qualifier, as both teams scored 628. It was the best showing for Colby since a seventh place result at the rain-shortened 2003 championship. Recently, Amherst has finished 16th at the Duke Nelson and 12th at the Williams Invitational. While Colby will be leaving Maine for the first time this season this weekend, the Mules have turned in solid performances, including third at the Maine State Tournament on Sept. 17-18 and first out of five teams at the Sid Farr Invitational on Sunday.
Founded by a group of local industrialists in 1917, the Shuttle Meadow Country Club is located less than 15 miles southwest of downtown Hartford in Kensington, Conn. The 18-hole course was designed by Willie Park, Jr., a two-time British Open Champion (1887, 1889) and renowned Scottish architect with over 170 designs to his credit throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. The course puts shot accuracy at a premium, featuring relatively flat fairways with greens that are undulating and fast. The scorecard for the course, which has a rating of 70.4 and a slope rating of 122, is a par-71 that totals 6,325 yards.
Results for the NESCAC Golf Championship Qualifier will be available at the completion of each day at www.nescac.com.
2010 NESCAC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER
at Shuttle Meadow Country Club - Hosted by Trinity
Day One - Saturday, Oct. 2
Wave 1 - Amherst, Colby, Tufts - 11:00 a.m.
Wave 2 - Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity - 11:40 a.m.
Wave 3 - Bates, Bowdoin, Wesleyan, Williams - 12:20 p.m.
Day Two - Sunday, Oct. 3
Wave 1 - Three teams with Highest Cumulative Score from Day One - 11:00 a.m.
Wave 2 - Next three teams with Highest Cumulative Score from Day One - 11:40 a.m.
Wave 3 - Remaining four teams with Lowest Cumulative Score from Day One - 12:20 p.m.