Williamstown, MA- The Williams Fall Invitational Tournament began today as the field of 18 teams teed it up at par-71 Taconic Golf Club, located on the outskirts of the Williams College campus. The weather reflected the transition to fall that the calendar had made earlier in the week, as temperatures were slightly cooler and the winds a little stronger. The conditions hindered no efforts made by the collegiate golfers to go low, as several teams saw scoring at or around par to.
The NESCAC claimed the top five spots on the team leaderboard, all led by the Trinity College Bantams who set the pace on day one with a team score of 301. Host Williams College managed to stay hot on the heels, finishing one stroke behind with a score of 302. Amherst, Middlebury, and Tufts rounded out the top five in that order, ending the day with scores of 305, 307, and 309 respectively.
Middlebury's Phillippe Morin holds the overnight lead after negotiating Taconic in 71 shots, a round of even par. Trailing Morin is a quintet of NESCAC golfers who all fired scores of 73. They are Will Rosenfield and Cam O'Connell from Trinity, Sam Procter from Amherst, Owen Elliot from Tufts, and Joe Tigani, representing Hamilton College.
All five Eph golfers finished with scores under 80, led by a 74 from freshman Sam Goldenring. Senior Grant Raffel also cracked the top ten overall with his 75-stroke effort, while the remaining three members of the team finished comfortably inside the top 20 individually. Freshman Will Kannegeiser shot a 76 that put him in a tie for twelfth. His round was followed by a pair of 77s from a pair of seniors, Jacob Watt-Morse and Ross Hoffman, who each finished in a tie for eighteenth.
Because they are playing host this weekend, every member of the Ephs team participated in today's round. Other notable performances included a 79 from freshman Ben Beiers, who is playing in his first collegiate event this weekend. Sophomore Tyler Tsay likewise finished with a 79.
Williams head coach Josh Hillman was pleased with his team's first round score, saying, "We got off to a good start today. After a very solid week of practice the team is in a good place and I expect us to back up today's solid play with another good day."
Williams will look to successfully defend their home course for the first time since the spring of 2014 when play kicks off on Sunday. Tomorrow's shotgun start will commence at 9:00 a.m. befroe the sun has risen high enough in the sky to warm up the course and the competitors. Every team will look to turn what could be a cold start into a hot finish as multiple teams have a shot at taking home the trophy.