Ephs pursue NESCAC Championship berth in Connecticut this weekend

 

Top Four Finishers at Fall Qualifier Will Compete for Title in April

 

HADLEY, MA – Rick Pohle's senior dominated Eph linksters will be shooting to continue their success this weekend at Shuttle Meadow Country Club in Kensington, CT, where Trinity College is hosting the two-day, 36-hole NESCAC Fall Qualifier. Trinity won the right to host the event by virtue of winning the 2010 NESCAC title last spring.

Ten of the NESCAC's members will be competing in the event, which offers the top four finishers the opportunity to play in the NESCAC Championship in the spring at the home course of the team taking top honors this weekend.

The first group tees off on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 11:00 a.m., and the qualifier concludes on Sunday, Oct. 3 with the final round commencing at 11:00 a.m.

"I think it is going to be a very closely contested event," noted Pohle. "Any one of 4-5 schools could win it all and I am anticipating 5-7 schools could be vying for the top 4 spots." The consensus is that Trinity, Williams, Middlebury, Hamilton, Amherst, Tufts, and Colby are the teams likely to contest for the top four spots.

Bob Camp '11

Since the conference adopted a fall qualifier and spring championship format in 2007, the Continentals join Middlebury, Trinity and Williams as the only four teams to have reached the championship round every year it has been held.

The Ephs are not unfamiliar with the Shuttle Meadow CC layout as the course served as host to 2008 NESCAC Championship and the Ephs came out on top to secure the NCAA Tournament berth. "We competed here three years ago when our seniors were freshmen for the NCAA Championship, which we won, so I think our players have a pretty good knowledge of what it takes to play well here," said Pohle.

"Much like Taconic, you have to position your shots well to score here," stated Pohle. "It is not a long course, but you must keep the ball in the fairway to score well and there are a number of holes you have to stay below the cup. Players that recklessly challenge the course will make many too mistakes in the long run to score well over the two days."

Looking to win the fall qualifier for the second year in a row, and along with it the right to host the spring championship, Williams is a squad that may just be peaking at the right time. After tying for 13th at the Duke Nelson two weeks ago, the Ephs put together a dominating performance at the Williams Invitational at Taconic where they finished first out of a field that featured eight NESCAC teams, carding a combined 591 - 20 strokes ahead of second place Middlebury.

Drew Murray '11 Jack Killea '11

Williams was propelled to victory thanks to three top-five individual finishes, as senior Robert Camp (Raleigh, N.C.) celebrated his birthday on Sunday with a two-under round of 69 to earn medalist honors (143, +1). The two-time All-NESCAC selection, who turned in the lowest score for his team for the second weekend in a row, was joined atop the leader board at the Williams Invitational by senior Jack Killea (Katy, Texas) and sophomore Jack Ervasti (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Ervasti tied for second (+3), just two strokes behind Camp, while Killea, also a two-time All-NESCAC honoree, came in fifth (146, +4).

The trio are a part of a Williams squad, always known for its talent and depth, that has won a conference-best 10 titles, including six of the past 10 championships. Last year, the Ephs edged Hamilton by two strokes (595) at the fall qualifier but came up short in their quest for another NESCAC championship, finishing fourth in the spring with a two-day total of 620. Williams' most recent NESCAC title came in 2008 when the championship round was held at Shuttle Meadow.

Experience could be a key in the Ephs success this weekend as they field a veteran squad that is familiar with Shuttle Meadow and they are playing with a purpose – this is the last go round for the seniors who relish the chance to battle for the NCAA berth in the spring. "If we play within ourselves and stay patient the results will take care of themselves," cautioned Pohle. "The goal is to qualify for the spring championship and have a chance to advance from there. Winning the event would be very nice because we would get to host in the spring, but as we know hosting doesn't guarantee you'll advance to the NCAA Championship - only Middlebury has been able to do that in the three previous events and even then it took a tiebreaker to gain that berth."

Jake Wagner '11 Jack Ervasti '13