Inclement Weather Limits Men’s and Women’s Golf


Both the men’s and women’s golf teams opened their spring seasons last weekend, April 14 to 15.
Over the course of two days, the men’s team competed at the Westport Hampton Inn Invitational, which was hosted by UMass Dartmouth at the Allendale Country Club. The Panthers tied for fourth overall with Husson University, after scoring a two-day total of 326. The winner of the event, Trinity College, scored 606. Other Nescac schools included Tufts and Amherst. Out of a field of 16 teams, Tufts 7th and Amherst placed 12th.

Reid Buzby ’19 led the Panthers in points, shooting 81 and 73 in the first and second rounds. With 154 points combined, Buzby was tied for fourth among all golfers in the Invitational.

For golfers Jeffrey Giguere ’20, Philippe Morin ’19, and Jordan Bessalel ’21, colder temperatures and increased wind speeds made it difficult to improve their scores in the second round.

Giguere started with a score of 75 on the first day, but shot an 80 on day two. Giguere eventually tied for 12th overall.
In his first action since spending the fall abroad, Morin tallied a 78 in his first round, but then struggled to finish with an 81 on day two. Bessalel, a first-year in his first collegiate spring action, started with 76, and then 83. Both tied for 32nd place. Sophomore David Packer ’20 shot a combined 163, finishing in 47th.

“Saturday ended up just being a grind, I did not have my A game and my mistakes were multiplied given the conditions,” said Morin. “Going forward, consistency is what I need to improve on. I know all of the courses in our upcoming schedule and it is just a matter of execution. I have been hitting the shots, just not at the level of consistency towards which I am aiming.”

The women’s team, meanwhile, played at the Vassar Invitational in Poughkeepsie, N.Y, at the Casperkill Golf Club. The invitational was shortened from two rounds to one due to unfavorable weather conditions.

The Panthers finished fourth overall after shooting a combined 329. Blake Yaccino ’20 led Middlebury by shooting an 80, which tied her for ninth on the individual scoreboard. Captains Hope Matthews ’18 and Katharine Fortin ’18 shot an 82 and an 83 respectively, putting them in 15th and 19th on the individual scoreboard. Rounding out the team scorers were Helen Dailey with 84, and Chloe Levins with 89. They were tied for 23rd and 39th. First-year Erika Nakagawa ’21 shot a 90.

Preparing for the Vassar Tournament proved to be a challenge. They were unable to go on a spring break trip this year, and thanks to weather conditions, the team was unable to spend much time practicing on the Ralph.

Fortunately, these setbacks weren’t just limited to the Panthers.

“All teams were in the same place coming into Vassar,” said Fortin, adding they had “little time spent on the course due to the winter weather.
“We hit indoors and practiced our short game until we could get on the course, play the fairways, and putt/chip on very slow greens. Compared to our course, Saturday’s greens were harder and faster, so a quick adjustment was necessary. We had no expectations going into the weekend as it would be our first full 18 holes this spring and we were ready to have fun and enjoy a beautiful day.”
Despite not finishing first, the Panthers are focused on succeeding in the future.

“In the last two tournaments of this spring, we are focusing on honing our short games and staying mentally positive,” Matthews said. “A lot of team conversation before tournaments involves staying focused and confident throughout the entirety of a round, which is really important to ensure each player performs at their best.”

“Spring goes by quickly in three weekends,” Fortin added. “Amherst is looking to have nice weather — knock on wood. We will be practicing indoors until Friday, so our biggest preparation will be reviewing our Saturday rounds and changing our mental games so as to not repeat any mistakes.”