Golf Teams Open Spring to Mixed Results

By Colin McIntyre

The Middlebury golf teams teed up the spring season with a couple road trips south last weekend. The men’s team placed second at the NYU Invitational and the women placed fifth at the Vassar College Invitational.

NYU hosted the men’s competition at Forest Hills Field Club in New Jersey, where Williams seized an eight-stroke day one lead over second-place Middlebury on Saturday, April 12. On a phenomenal Sunday, the Panther men shaved thirteen shots off their Saturday total and shot a combined 289, but they could not make up the deficit to a consistent Williams squad that won the tournament by a stroke. The two NESCAC powers dominated, as the third place University of Rochester finished 15 strokes behind Middlebury’s second place score.

“We played very solid golf this weekend as a team,” John Louie ’15 said. “This was our first tournament of the spring season and our first competitive rounds of golf since last October. We all were confident in our preparation for the tournament and turned out a great second day. We just had to dust some of the cobwebs off.”

Individually, Charlie Garcia ’15 paced the Panthers on Saturday with a three-over-par 74. The other four Middlebury competitors—Fitz Bowen ’17, Robbie Donahoe ’14, Eric Laorr ’15 and Louie — all carded scores in the 70s.

“The course was great,” Louie said. “It required accurate and smart shotmaking. There were quite a few holes to score on and on the second day we really took advantage of that.”

On day two, Louie shot a tournament-best two-under-par 69 to finish tied for third place with 145 on the weekend — one stroke out of the playoff. Garcia shot a 72 to move up to fifth place, and Bowen also finished in the top ten with a weekend score of 148, good for a tie for ninth. Donahoe shot a 75 on Sunday for weekend score of 153 and a share of 22nd place, while Laorr (77-79-156) tied for 31st.

“We really focused on staying patient,” Garcia said. “The season is so short and the weather hasn’t been ideal…so it’s important to work on things in moderation. It’s more about peaking at the right time and I think we are very close do doing that.”

The Panthers will look to build on their success in next weekend’s tournament at Williams, where they will have a final tune-up before the NESCAC championships.  Middlebury beat the Ephs at the NESCAC qualifier in the fall to earn the right to host the championships later this spring.

“Williams played solid golf this weekend and we were not surprised by that,” Louie said.  “We anticipated a good weekend from them after a competitive fall season.”

On the women’s side, the 25th-ranked Panthers played at the Vassar Invitational at Casperkill Golf Club in Poughkeepsie, N.Y on April 12 and 13. Middlebury placed fifth out of the 12-team field with a weekend score of 665. Fourth-ranked Williams won the tournament with a total score of 633, while eighth-ranked Ithaca (650), Cortland (658) and NYU (662) also went lower than the Panthers.

“Williams and Ithaca played consistently well, as they usually do, but Cortland and NYU surprised us,” Monica Chow ’16 said. “We usually come in second or third, so coming in fifth is definitely a wake up call for all of us. We know we are a stronger team than we showed this past weekend, and I think we are all looking forward to redeeming ourselves this coming weekend.”

Chow finished the event with a weekend 168, tied for 21st and 10 strokes behind team leader Jordan Glatt ’15. Glatt carded two consecutive rounds of 79 to finish the weekend tied for fourth, four strokes behind the leaders.

“It was great to begin competing again, as we have not had a tournament since the fall,” Glatt said. “Even though this season is only three weeks long, we hope to make the best of it and continue to improve.”

The Panthers were able to improve on Saturday’s showing, taking seven shots off their score as a team on Sunday. It would not be enough as Cortland and NYU jumped Middlebury down the stretch to finish third and fourth, respectively.

Michelle Peng ’15 was hindered by an early quadruple bogey on Saturday, but finished strong, shooting 84 and 85 and placing 23rd in the tournament field.

Theodora Yoch ’17 (84-86) finished tied for 24th, and Caroline Kenter ’14 (91-91) finished 44th.

The women’s squad will compete next weekend at a tournament hosted by Amherst  College.