Golf Teams Place Pair of Top-10 Finishes

Middlebury men’s golf hosted the Duke Nelson Invitational September 19-20. Credit: Michael O'Hara

Middlebury men’s golf hosted the Duke Nelson Invitational September 19-20. Credit: Michael O'Hara

By Will Case

Middlebury’s men’s and women’s golf teams were both in action last weekend, as the men’s team hosted the 32nd Annual Duke Nelson Invitational and the women’s team took part in the NYU Invitational at Spook Rock Golf Course. The Panther women collectively carded a two-day score of 659 which put them at 83 over. The men’s team finished with a two-day score of 629, 61 over for the weekend.

Katharine Fortin ’18 and Hope Matthews ’18 were the low scorers for the Panthers in the team’s first tournament action of the fall season. Fortin finished the weekend with a two-day score of 154, good for 10 over. She followed her Saturday round of 78 by registering a 76 in Sunday’s round, punctuated by two birdies on the back nine. Matthews was 15 over on the weekend and carded a two-day score of 159. She shaved five strokes off of her 82-stroke Saturday round by shooting a 77 on Sunday.

“I was more comfortable on the course today,” Matthews said after Sunday’s round. “I was able to build off the specific yardages and ball positions I used yesterday which was particularly helpful for a few of the blind shots. I also feel that my short game was stronger today.”

One of the most inspirational performances of the weekend came from Theodora Yoch ’17. She entered the field as an individual and recorded a 93 in her first round; however, she shot a 77 on Sunday and shaved 16 strokes off Saturday’s round – good for the best day-over-day improvement of any player on the course.

“We expect everyone to contribute immediately,” said Bill Mandigo, who enters his eighth season as the team’s head coach. “We have a good, young group and I am excited to watch them compete on a weekly basis.”

The Panthers round of 321 on Sunday sealed their fifth-place finish, fourteen shots back of fourth-place Amherst. Williams shot a two-day total of 614 and finished 38 over to take home the win.

Unlike the women’s team, the men’s squad did not have to travel far, as they hosted the 32nd Annual Duke Nelson Invitational at the Ralph Myhre Golf Course.

The team is competing without last season’s top-ranked player, Fitz Bowen ’17.

“Certainly Fitz is one of the best golfers that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach at Middlebury College,” said 22-year Head Coach Bill Beaney. “He led with his hard work, course management and high level of skill. Mostly he set a great example with his tireless preparation.”

Without Bowen in the field, Rodrigo Andrade ’17 was the highlight for the Panthers. He followed a Saturday round of 78 by shooting a 73 on Sunday, tied for the lowest round of the entire field and a seventh-overall finish. Reid Buzby ’19 also helped lead the way for the Panthers last weekend. In his collegiate debut he recorded the Panthers’ second-lowest two-day score with a 157 by shooting a 78 Saturday and a 79 Sunday. Bennett Doherty ’18 finished two strokes behind Buzby with a 159.

One week before heading to NESCAC qualifiers and beginning their title defense, the Panthers managed to finish ninth after shaving 11 strokes off their day one score in Sunday’s round. They finished 15 strokes behind tournament champion Williams, which shot 614 at 46 over. The Panthers finished fourth among the seven NESCAC teams that competed as they continue to adjust to life with Bowen abroad.

Beaney still remains optimistic about his team’s chances to finish in the top four at next weekend’s qualifier to earn the squad a birth into the NESCAC Championship.

“The current group we have is a nice blend of experienced players that have worked hard to get their chance and first year players who come in with a great resumes, Beaney said. “The team has an awareness and understanding of what it takes to be successful at this level.”

Next up for the women’s squad is the Mt. Holyoke Invitational Saturday, Sept. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 28 at The Orchards in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The men next compete at the NESCAC qualifiers Saturday and Sunday at Williams.

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Golf Teams Place Pair of Top-10 Finishes