Men's Golf Set To Host NESCAC Championship - Tourney Moved To Neshobe

April 27, 2011

Middlebury College will pursue its third conference crown in the past five years when the Panthers host the 2011 NESCAC Golf Championship at the Ralph Myhre Golf Course in Middlebury, Vt. Joining Middlebury at this weekend’s conference championship will be defending NESCAC champion Trinity, Williams, and Amherst, which is making its first appearance at the spring round since the format was adopted in 2007-08.

Tournament moved to: http://www.neshobe.com/

The Panthers used a pair of stellar rounds during the first weekend of October to win the NESCAC Fall Qualifier at Shuttle Meadow Country Club. After tying for the lead following day one with a score of 295, Middlebury challenged the rest of the field to keep pace on Sunday afternoon with a score of 290, nine strokes ahead of the next-best team that day. The Panthers’ two-round total of 585 was 13 strokes better than Williams, as they won the right to host the spring championship for the second time in three years. Leading the way for Middlebury at Shuttle Meadow was senior Brian Cady (Rye, N.Y.), one of three Panthers to finish in the top 10 at the event. After posting a three-over performance on Saturday, Cady fired the best round of the tournament Sunday afternoon with a three-under 68 and finished as the only individual among the 50-player field at par (142). The effort also secured him NESCAC Player of the Year honors. Heading into this weekend’s championship round, Middlebury looks primed to capture its fourth NESCAC title having played very well so far this spring. Of the three events the Panthers have participated in they have won two and were third among 10 squads in the other. This past Sunday at Williams, Middlebury won a rain-shortened tournament featuring six conference teams with senior Jim Levins (Rutland, Vt.) carding a par-71 to lead the way. Levins finished ninth during the Fall Qualifier.

Looking to repeat as NESCAC champions this weekend will be Trinity. After years of coming oh-so-close to winning a conference title, the Bantams broke through in 2010 at Taconic with a dominating performance as they built a 17-stroke lead on day one and cruised to a 16-stroke victory over the team that had denied them the title via tie-breaker in 2006 and again in 2009, Middlebury. Junior Alex Bermingham (Bedford, N.Y.) was one of three Trinity linksmen in the top five at last year’s championship as he paced the field with a two-day total of 145 (+3). Although the Bantams were without the services of former NESCAC Players of the Year Reid Longley and Josh Grossman, both of whom joined Bermingham among the top five individuals, during the fall due to graduation, Trinity still managed to secure a berth in this weekend’s championship round with a fourth place showing of 609 on its home course thanks to the play of senior Jay Driscoll (Milton, Mass.), who finished the Fall Qualifier one stroke behind Middlebury’s Cady with a one-over total of 143. Driscoll has been a consistent performer over his career with the Bantams, as he joined with Bermingham this past weekend to guide Trinity to third place at the Williams Spring Open.

Joining Middlebury and Trinity at the spring championship weekend for the fourth year in a row will be Williams. The Ephs have won six of the last 10 conference title with their most recent coming in 2008 when the format of the championship was changed. Since claiming their 10th NESCAC crown, Williams has placed fourth among the four-team field at each of the last two championships, recording a two-day total of 620 last April to finish 22 strokes behind Middlebury. This past fall, the Ephs entered the qualifier looking to host the final rounds of the NESCAC championship for the second-straight year and put themselves in position to do just that as they sat tied atop the leaderboard with the Panthers following day one. Although Williams could not keep up with Middlebury’s blistering pace on Sunday, the Ephs still managed a respectable second day total of 302 and finished second overall. While the Ephs have been known in recent years to feature a deep and talented roster, consistency will be key if they hope to win the NESCAC title. Looking to lead Williams back to the top of the conference mountain are the familiar faces of Robert Camp (Raleigh, N.C.), Jack Killea (Katy, Texas), and Jacob Wagner (Wilmette, Ill.). The senior trio was headed up by Camp during the Fall Qualifier, as he carded a two-day total of 145 (+3) to finish tied for fifth. During the Williams Spring Open at Taconic on Sunday, Killea tied for fourth while Camp and Wagner tied for ninth to help their squad place second overall.

Making its first-ever appearance this weekend will be Amherst. The Lord Jeffs have eight league titles to their credit, however it’s been awhile since they have hoisted the NESCAC trophy. All eight titles came during a span of 11 years beginning with Amherst’s first in 1988 and its most recent in 1997. During the Fall Qualifier at Shuttle Meadow, the Jeffs posted a pair of carbon-copy rounds of 299 and placed one stroke behind rival Williams in third place. It was the highest finish for Amherst at the fall conference event since claiming second at the rain-shortened 2003 championship. The Jeffs’ success at Shuttle Meadow was highlighted by the stellar play of senior Trip Wray (Walpole, Mass.) and junior Nate Belkin (Needham, Mass.). The pair carded the best performances of their careers at the Fall Qualifier, as Wray led his teammates with a score of 145 (+3), tying him with Williams’ Camp for fifth among the field, while Belkin was two strokes behind his senior counterpart and ended the event tied for seventh. A strong all-around showing will be needed this weekend at Ralph Myhre if the Jeffs hope to contend for the NESCAC title. At the Williams Spring Open on Sunday, Amherst was fifth among the six NESCAC squads with Belkin and first year Nicholas Koh (Singapore) recording identical 81 scores (+10).

The origin of the Ralph Myhre Golf Course traces back to the 1920’s, with the construction of the original nine holes taking place before the end of the decade. During the Great Depression the land was mortgaged and the course was not used at all during World War II. After the war, the property was leased to Middlebury College before it was eventually purchased by the college. Ralph Myhre took over management of the course in the 1960’s and led the development of the current layout with work commencing in 1974 and finishing in 1978. Located in a scenic setting on rolling terrain adjacent to the Middlebury athletics facilities, the course features fairways that are wide open and small greens that are either elevated or multi-tiered. The back nine was formed around the original nine and demands shot accuracy along with a significant amount of patience. The scorecard for the course, which has a rating of 70.8 and a slope rating of 124, is a par-71 that totals 6,379 yards. Results for the NESCAC Golf Championship will be available at the completion of each day at www.nescac.com.

 -- courtesy NESCAC --