Bloomfield, NJ- Improved conditions led to improved scores for the members of the Williams College men's golf team competing in this year's NYU invitational played at the par-71 Forest Hill Field Club. The Ephs climbed their way up the leaderboard, starting in a tie for seventh place and finishing in solo second out of the eleven schools competing.
Skidmore College finished fifteen shots clear of Williams behind individual champion Tim Manwaring, the overnight leader after carding a 69 on Saturday. Skidmore put two more players in the top ten to insure their victory.
Williams' second day team total of 298 was not only the best score of the day, it bested Skidmore's 299 from day one that allowed the Thoroughbreds to open up a thirteen shot advantage. Williams entered the day eight shots out of second place, trailing NESCAC rival Trinity College for that position. The Ephs more than made up for their first day total of 320, finishing five strokes ahead of the Bantams when play concluded on Sunday.
Williams was led by sophomore Jack Coyne, whose scorecard included two birdies and an eagle, the eagle coming on the first hole, a 374 yard par-4. All of that was part of a one under round of 70 to go along with his 79 from Saturday that placed him in a tie for third. Coyne started his round on the back nine, quickly finding himself in trouble after bogeying his second hole of the day. Coyne went out in two over before blasting a drive on the first hole, giving himself just a lob wedge from 46 yards into the par-4 which he holed to get back to even par. All pars and a birdie on the remaining holes of the front nine allowed him to sneak his final tally back into red figures.
Coyne was backed up by senior Michael Stone, who also opened his tournament with a 79 on Saturday. Stone worked his way around the course in three over par, pouring in 14 pars along the way to finish in a tie for tenth. Fellow senior Tong Liu finished day two with a 75 despite taking two double bogeys. Liu improved upon his day one score by six shots by playing the steady style of golf that has become expected of him, making twelve pars and two birdies as he traversed the course. Rounding out the Williams scoring was senior captain Max Elgart, who finished with a 79.
The theme of improvement was extended to junior Jacob Watt-Morse, in the field at NYU as an individual. Watt-Morse was aided by a strong start en route to his second round 77, a one shot improvement from day one. Watt-Morse began his day with an eagle on the par-5 14th followed three holes later by a birdie that pushed his score to three under par. Six bogeys on the front nine slowed that pace, but that did not take away from an overall solid tournament from Watt-Morse.
Head coach Josh Hillman was pleased with his team's fast improvement, saying, "We knew it was going to be really hard to catch Skidmore so we reset goals and posted the low round of the tournament. All the guys helped out and put a really nice round together." Hillman was also pleased with the individual performances on the day: "Jack Coyne continues to impress me. He knows how to gear it up for a tournament round. As do Michael Stone and Jacob Watt-Morse."
The impressive performance on day two, while a confidence boost, will leave a bittersweet taste in the mouths of all Williams players after shooting a 320 team score on day one. Williams will look to put together back to back strong performances next weekend when they travel to compete at the Johnson and Wales spring tournament.