Williamstown, MA- The field of 96 golfers spanning 18 college teams woke up this morning to heavy fog and temperatures in the 30s as they prepared themselves to do battle with par-71 Taconic Golf Club in the final round of this year's Williams Fall Invitational. The fog lifted quickly as temperatures gradually climbed into the 60s, and with gusting winds and clear skies the course was played under typical fall conditions.
The host Ephs successfully defended their home course for the first time since the spring of 2014, compiling a brilliant team score of 297 on day two to finish with a total of 599. Trinity College, who held a one stroke advantage over Williams to start the day, finished as the team runner up after a solid total of 303 on day two that left them five shots back overall at 604. All five competitors for both schools recorded rounds in the 70s on day two. Fellow NESCAC schools Middlebury College and Tufts University struggled a bit during the second round but managed to play themselves into a tie for the last spot on the podium with a total score of 619.
Owen Elliot, a senior of the Tufts team, took home medalist honors after posting the only under-par score on the weekend on Sunday, a one-under 70 that paired well with his first round 73. Phillippe Morin from Middlebury finished in second place overall after sleeping on a two stroke lead, finishing with a two day score of 144 after his second round 73. Freshman Sam Goldenring from Williams College finished in third, posting two solid scores during both rounds, a 74 and 72 respectively. Middlebury's Reid Buzby matched Morin's day two score to finish in outright fourth. Williams' Will Kannegeiser likewise matched his classmate's 72 to finish in outright fifth after his first round score of 76.
The pair of Williams freshmen were backed up by a trio of Eph seniors, Jacob Watt-Morse, Ross Hoffman, and Grant Raffel. Watt-Morse contributed a fabulous day two score of 74 while Hoffman and Raffel can both take credit for the final scoring round of the day, as each player took 79 shots to get around the course.
While the Williams A-team was busy sealing the deal, more Ephs were busy making scores. Junior Jack Coyne shot 2-under par 33 on the front nine that helped him overcome a few bad holes on the back nine that were all part of a 76. Sophomore Tyler Tsay matched his first round score of 79 while new team member Giebien Na shot 78.
Head coach Josh Hillman said about his team's play, "I am proud of how the team bounced back from last weekend. We regrouped and designed a new game plan for practice this week and stuck to it. The players put in the time working on the right things and it payed off. We've got a lot of depth in our lineup this year, and I think this weekend showed that."
This weekend marked the final tournament of the regular season for Williams as they will shift gears to playoff mode when they attempt to qualify for the NESCAC Spring Championship during next week's qualifying tournament to be played at Middlebury. Hillman likes the direction the team is headed in, saying, "All of the guys are working hard in the gym, on the practice green, and on the course. Team chemistry has never been higher." The Ephs will look to carry the momentum of a first place finish onto a course which they struggled at last weekend during the Duke Nelson Invitational. Williams will have to keep their games sharp as they are sure to see stiff competition from the other NESCAC schools trying to secure their spot in the spring tournament.