Men’s Golf Ends Season on Par

By MIGUEL ESPINOSA

Men’s golf ended its fall season on a high note, when it finished in third place among 23 teams at the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championship (NEIGA). The tournament took place from Saturday, Oct. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 22, and was held at the Captains Golf Course, a par-72 course in Brewster, Mass. Brewster, which is located on the bayside of Cape Cod, would have offered the Panthers a coastal retreat from the chilly and landlocked mountains of Vermont. But the weather on the first day was extremely far from ideal. The temperature hovered around the low 40s and was accompanied by wind gusts of up to 20 miles per hour. 

The team’s performance was hot in spite of the cold temperatures. Middlebury’s third-place finish was the result of a two-day total of 618, just shy of first-place Babson’s 613 and second-place Williams’ 614. Rounding out the top five were Husson University, which totaled 627, and Nichols College with 628. The other NESCAC rivals that competed, Tufts and Bates, landed at seventh and 22nd, respectively. 

The Panthers’ solid outing could be attributed to the strong individual performances of senior captains Reid Buzby and Philippe Morin, as well as junior David Packer. Buzby took home first-place-medalist honors, scoring 73 in the first round and 72 in the second. His overall total of 145 was just one above par. Morin finished in fourth place, which is remarkable considering that he was tied for 17th after the first round. He ultimately carded a total of 151. Packer, meanwhile, managed to tie for eighth place after scoring 154. He showed consistency throughout the tournament, scoring a 77 on both days. The other Panther golfers, Chris Thompson ’22 and David McDaniel ’19, tied for 75th and 106th, respectively.

The explanation behind Buzby’s success could be his ability to excel in difficult weather. “I knew going into the tournament the conditions were going to be really tough,” he said. “I usually perform better than most people in bad conditions, so I was really confident [that] I would have a good chance of winning if I stuck to my normal game.”

Regional ties also could have played a role in Buzby’s performance. “I’m from San Francisco and I play at a course out there by the ocean, so it gets really windy and cold at all times of the year,” he said. “I’ve gotten really comfortable playing in the wind and cold, while most people are playing in hot and sunny conditions over the summer.”

With men’s golf not returning to action until the spring, Buzby will no longer need to compete in harsh conditions, provided that winter doesn’t last into April. The team will now set its sights on the NESCAC Championship, which will take place at the Ralph Myhre Golf Course from Saturday, April 27 to Sunday, April 28, 2019. This comes after Middlebury finished first at the NESCAC qualifier in September, winning the right to host the championship. 

“Individually, I am hoping to bring some of the momentum I had from these last few tournaments into the spring season, and get as many wins as I can during my last year,” Buzby said. 

While for the next several months Ralph Myhre will lose all of its leaves, be covered in snow and experience less sunlight, one thing will remain constant: the hope that Middlebury golf will soon reign victorious.