Men’s Golf Wins NESCAC Qualifier; Women 3rd at Middlebury Invite

By Will Case

The men’s and women’s golf teams both had a very productive Fall Family Weekend, Oct. 3-4, on the course. The women’s golf team placed third in its own Middlebury Invitational at the Ralph Myhre Golf Course, while the men’s team took its first step toward defending its NESCAC title by winning the NESCAC qualifiers at Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown, Mass.

It was only three weeks ago that the men’s squad finished behind Trinity, Hamilton, Amherst and Williams’ A and B teams when they struggled to a 12th place finish at Taconic. As the last decade of Middlebury men’s golf has shown, this team is resilient and at its best when it really counts.

The program’s trend of first-years contributing at the big tournaments was also on display again last weekend, as Scott Guidotti ’19, Philip Morin ’19 and Reid Buzby ’19 shot the top three scores for the Panthers.

When the first round of the qualifier ended Saturday, the “big three” of Panther first-years sat at the top off the leader board, as Buzby and Morin shot 75s putting them one shot back of the leader Guidotti. Guidotti finished the weekend at the top of the individual leader board and 4 strokes over par. He shot an impressive 74 on Saturday, and followed that up with an outstanding round of 72 on Sunday. Buzby followed his 75 on Saturday with a 76 on Sunday to lock up a second place finish individually.  Although Morin fell off the pace his teammates set Sunday, he shot a 78 to finish his successful weekend shooting a combined 153 for third place.

Rodrigo Andrade ’17 shot a 157 (78, 79) and Bennett Doherty ’18 shot a 159 (76, 83) to round out the Middlebury top five in the winning effort.

The Panthers’ first-place finish at the qualifier gives them home course advantage for the NESCAC championship tournament in the spring (Apr. 30 – May 1).

Last weekend was a successful one for the women’s squad as well. The Panthers finished 3rd at their annual invitational, 12 shots back of second-place Amherst and 26 shots off the pace set by Williams.

Katharine Fortin ’18 was the highlight for the Panthers. She continued her success this fall by finishing the weekend with a two day total of 160 and in a four-way tie for first place atop the individual leaderboard.

The conditions on the course tested players on all teams this weekend, especially on Saturday.

Due to the windy and chilly conditions, Head Coach Bill Mandigo said his players had mixed feelings about their play.  “Some of [the players] were disappointed and some were okay,” Mandigo said as players began walking off the course Sunday.

Fortin added that the team enjoyed playing on its home course, and the experience will be useful heading into next weekend’s NESCAC tournament.

“The course was playing very difficult for every player yesterday because of the north wind. It’s a long and challenging course, but it is certainly fun to play and beautiful at this time of year,” Fortin said.  “We had home advantage, which helps with putting and yardage. The team was hitting the ball well, but struggled in other areas that lead to scores being higher than we wanted.”

Fortin pointed out that the Panthers still have room to improve upon their third place finish, considering they finished behind two NESCAC teams.

“We had expectations to put some pressure on Williams after day one because they are the team to beat and had hopes of at least finishing second,” said Fortin on how the team reflected on the weekend. “Unfortunately it didn’t come together and Amherst stayed ahead of us.”

Mandigo said his players are looking forward to the challenge of heading to Taconic next weekend for NESCAC’s.  “It’s going to be tough for the younger players who haven’t been down to Williams yet,” Mandigo acknowledged. “And Williams has a very talented group.”

The Panthers can look forward to the challenge after a third-straight week of improvement and a solid outing at their invitational as they attempt to qualify for NESCAC championships in the spring.

This weekend, Oct. 10-11, both the men’s and women’s squads will head south to Massachusetts. The women’s squad tees off Saturday at the Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown for the NESCAC championships, and the men’s squad tees off Saturday in Southwick for the ECAC Division III championships.

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