Men’s Golf Hosts 36th Duke Nelson Invitational


The Ralph Myhre Golf Course at Middlebury was buzzing with activity for the 36th Duke Nelson Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 15 and Sunday, Sept. 16. The invitational was hosted by the men’s golf team. Twenty-two colleges were represented that weekend, including Nescac rivals Williams, Trinity, Amherst, Tufts and Wesleyan. Other schools included New York University, Springfield College and Endicott College. Weather conditions were perfect for attacking the par-71 course. The summer heat had decided to extend its stay on campus for the tournament, allowing golfers to squeeze in a final tan.

While the Panthers may have returned with sun-kissed glows, they were unable to bring home new hardware. Middlebury finished seventh overall. The Williams Ephs captured first place after shooting a total of 584, and were followed by the Trinity Bantams, who tallied just four more strokes at 588. Middlebury was 12 shots behind first place with a score of 600.

The Panthers’ performance improved from day one to day two, when they shot 303 and 297, respectively. Middlebury’s second-round score of 297 was better than those of third-place NYU, fifth-place Johnson & Wales and sixth-place Amherst. The Panthers’ six-shot improvement, unfortunately, would not prove to be enough to capture first. Ironically, their position dropped from sixth place after round one to seventh place after the tournament ended.

Middlebury’s performance was led by David Packer ’20, who shot consistently at 74 and 73. Packer ultimately tied for 10th overall on an individual basis.

“Coming off our first round of tournament play for the season, I think the biggest factor [behind our improvement] was just a higher level of comfort competing again,” said Packer. “[It involved] getting some of those first-day jitters out of the way and being more confident standing over the ball.”

“The team was able to settle down after day one of our first tournament, and trust the process,” said senior captain Philippe Morin, who was tied at 48th after hitting 77 and 76. “We do not try to think too much about physical changes during tournaments, but mentally we commit to each other and every shot while on the course — a mindset needed to score well.”

Captains Reid Buzby ’19 and David McDaniel ’19 finished tied for 26th and 65th, respectively. Sophomore Jordan Bessalel ’21 also placed at 26th.

The Panthers will be looking to exact revenge on Williams this weekend at the Williams Fall Invitational this weekend, Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sunday, Sept. 23.