Cromwell, CT- The golfers of the Little Three colleges met for the annual 36-hole championship on Wednesday at TPC River Highlands, the par-70 course that hosts the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship every year. The venue was even more special after last year's Travelers, when Jordan Spieth drained a bunker shot on the 18th hole for birdie to win on the first playoff hole (see video here). The conditions that met the players on Wednesday could not have been more different than those the pros will face in June. A steady and sometimes heavy rain washed over the course throughout the day, but that was the only element that affected play as the temperature was fairly warm and the wind stayed quiet.
Williams jumped out to an early advantage in the morning alternate shot matches, securing 2.5 points over Amherst and 4 points over Wesleyan. First-years Wyatt Khosrowshahi and Tucker van Eck went out first for the Ephs. The two were a natural pair, as they had spent the last 14 years of school together at Hackley before both coming to Williams. They also share an up tempo swing and steady ball-striking, which helped them win 7&5 over Wesleyan and 4&3 over Amherst.
Next was the pairing of sophomore Will Kannegieser and first-year William Conyers, who won against their Wesleyan opponents but lost to Will Lonnquist and Jack Klein of Amherst, 3&1. Sophomore Ben Beiers and junior Jake Foehl put in the most dominant performance in alternate shot, playing the course +1 for the 14 holes that the matches lasted. They won 8&7 over Wesleyan and 5&4 over Amherst. Sophomore Sam Goldenring and first-year Beau David stumbled slightly at the end of the match. After securing a point against Zach Lambros and Brian Gerner of Wesleyan, they walked off 18 with a half point on Amherst.
And so Williams led 2.5-1.5 over Amherst going into the afternoon singles matches, only to see that lead evaporate quickly. Van Eck led off for Williams, battling hard throughout the round but eventually losing to Amherst's Nick Sullivan on the 18th. Even so, the newest addition to the team played well enough to earn a contract extension.
Khosrowshahi and David both cruised to victories in singles, winning 4&3 and 5&4 respectively. Goldenring possessed the only other singles victory for Williams, barraging Amherst's Jeff Herr with birdies until he eventually relented on the 17th hole.
At this point, the score was 5.5-2.5 Williams, with both teams eyeing the 6.5 points required to win. Here Williams stalled, and Amherst won the last four matches to win the championship. Foehl, Beiers, Conyers, and Kannegieser all fell to their AMherst counterparts. The match came down to Kannegieser and Dan Langa, who were all-square going into 17 before Langa won the hole to carry a 1-up advantage into 18, where a routine par secured him and his team the victory.
Williams and Amherst will both be back in action in a few short days at the NESCAC Championship at Indian Hill Golf Club.