Williams Defeats Middlebury in Match Play Final

Grant Raffel '17/Courtesy of Jon Wallin
Grant Raffel '17/Courtesy of Jon Wallin

Lake Placid, NY- The Williams college men's golf team wrapped up this year's installment of the Middlebury fall classic with a championship match against the host Panthers. The event was played on the Links Course at Lake Placid club, a 7,100 yard par 71 and one of the longest courses the teams will see this fall. Williams reached the final with a win over Castleton on Saturday afternoon after posting the low team score in the morning to earn the #1 seed going into the matches. Middlebury defeated Skidmore in the other semi-final, but the Thoroughbreds bounced back to win the third place match over the Spartans on Sunday. In the championship, the two teams battled back and forth for all 18 holes with Williams ultimately claiming the title by a score of 4-2.

Six Ephs matched up against six panthers in the championship match. Junior captain Jake foehl played in the 6th spot for the Ephs, dispatching Middlebury senior Joseph Ko in a 5&4 win. Foehl was 3up through 12 before going birdie-par to close it out.

Playing in the number two slot, sophomore Will Kannegieser was 2down at the turn to Middlebury junior Jeffrey Giguere before winning holes 11, 12, and 14 to turn that deficit into a 1up lead. Kannegieser then rolled in a difficult 15 foot birdie putt on 16 to go two up, and the match was over after both players made par on 17.

Kannegieser's classmate Ben Beiers, playing as the #4 man for the Ephs, closed out his match with a birdie on the long par 5 15th hole. From the tips the 15th extends over 600 yards, and after a poorly struck tee shot Beiers needed to strike two consecutive three woods just to advance the ball to the front of the green. That turned out to be good enough, as he rolled in the 30 foot bomb to end the match.

The fourth point for the Ephs came from senior captain Grant Raffel, who was up early in his match against Middlebury's Graham Kenter before Kenter staged a bit of a comeback to challenge the Raffel lead. Raffel held steady and did not flinch, calmly concluding his match on the 17th green with a tap in par.

Sophomore Sam Goldenring, playing in the #1 spot, went back and forth all day with Bennett Doherty. The two were playing fabulous golf as a par, at one point trading birdie putts from inside 10 feet on the par 3 14th hole. The match was all square going into 17 where Doherty caught a lucky break after hitting his drive in the fescue. Goldenring caught an unlucky break with a sketchy lie in the fairway, and launched his wedge shot long, losing the hole. The two halved 18 and Doherty walked away with a 1up win.

The last match of the day was the most volatile, featuring sophomore Giebien Na of Williams vs. David Packer. Packer had control for most of the match, though Na used birdies to dig himself out of some of the holes he was in. Unfortunately for Na, he could never quite pull himself all the way out, eventually losing 2&1 on the 17th green.

Williams head coach Josh Hillman was overall very pleased with his team's performance this weekend, saying, "This weekend was a total team effort. It's not often that we get to play a full match play tournament with seeding and matches to follow. This type of format creates a situation where all team members need to play well in order to win. Our guys did that today." Hillman went on to comment on how the team is working well together to start the year and is hopeful that they will build on this first weekend.