Manchester, VT- For the fourth year in a row, the Williams College men's golf team concluded their fall schedule with the Ekwanok Collegiate Match, an event that began in 2014 and played at the par-70 Ekwanok Country Club. The event is unlike any other the Ephs play in during the fall; it is a one day event with a best six scores of eight format as opposed to a standard college tournament that is two days and best four scores of five. Originally, the competing schools were Williams as well as Middlebury College and Trinity College. Last year, Hamilton was added to complete the foursome. Historically, Williams has not been at their best for this event, never really coming close to getting their name on the prestigious Sap Bucket trophy. That all changed today.
The Williams line-up did not feature the best score of the day, but it did feature the best combination of six scores for a winning total of 433. Trinity finished as the runner-up at 435, and their senior Nate Choukas earned medalist honors with a 67.
The event came down to a duel between Williams and Trinity, the two best teams in the NESCAC all fall. Trinity had gotten the best of Williams in every event that both teams entered until today. The top players from both schools performed as to be expected, making the fifth and sixth scores crucial.
For Trinity, junior Will Rosenfield fired a 69 to back up Choukas's 67, and Joe Ladd fired a 71. But then the scores got higher for the Bantams, and they were forced to also take a 75 from Jack Junge, 76 from Taylor Kay-Green, and 77 from Kole Kelly.
Williams likewise had three scores around par, all from sophomores, including a smooth 69 from Will Kannegieser. Ben Beiers, the hottest player on the squad, kept up the terrific form he's shown towards the end of the season with an even par round of 70. Sam Goldenring stumbled a little with two early doubles but turned it around using three birdies to bring his score back to a one over 71.
The final three scores made the difference for the Ephs. First-year Beau David had his best round of the season, carding a 72. Senior captain Grant Raffel, playing his final round of collegiate golf, turned in a hard fought 76.
For a time, it looked as though the sixth score would be an 81 from junior captain Jake Foehl. With everyone already gathered near the scoreboard, the final group on the course arrived back at the clubhouse, including the walk on first-year William Conyers, who made the team during tryouts in September. Conyers had an adventurous round of golf, regularly finding himself out of position before miraculously extracting himself, normally using his putter. When all was said and done, Conyers finished his round in 75 shots, giving Williams their two shot victory.
The Ephs will not suit up for a competitive round for six months. Over the winter, they will look to keep their games in shape in order to challenge Trinity for the NESCAC Championship.