Middlebury Set to Host NESCAC Golf Championship

Panthers Seek Fourth Title in Six Years

2014 NESCAC Men's Golf Championship HADLEY, Mass. –
Four teams aim to capture a conference crown at the 2014 NESCAC Golf Championship this weekend at Ralph Myhre Golf Course in Middlebury, Vt. Host Middlebury will welcome Trinity, Amherst and defending champion Williams to the two-day championship. Teams will tee off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 26 and at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 27.

The Panthers earned the right to host the spring championship after claiming a 17-stroke win at the NESCAC Championship Qualifier, held September 28-29 at Brunswick Golf Club in Brunswick, Maine. Middlebury built a 14-stroke lead after firing a team score of 292 on Day One, and never looked back as it followed up with a  score of 303 the next day. All five Panthers received All-NESCAC honors. Middlebury is seeking its fourth conference title in six years and sixth overall. The Panthers won back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012.

Junior John Louie (Salinas, Calif.) paced Middlebury with a two-round score of 145 (+1) to be named NESCAC Player of the Year. Senior teammates Rob Donahoe (Canton, Mass.) and Chris Atwood (Rochester, N.H.) finished second and fourth, respectively, behind Louie. Donahoe was one stroke back at 146, while Atwood carded a two-day total of 150 en route to being named First Team All-NESCAC. Junior Eric Laorr (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and first-year Fitz Bowen (Kenilworth, Ill.) fired identical rounds of 154 to finish tied for ninth place and receive Second Team All-NESCAC honors. At the Williams Spring Invitational, the Panthers finished in second place with a two-day total of 601. Donahoe led the way, tying for fourth place after carding a 148 (+6). Junior Charlie Garcia (Garden City, N.Y.) finished tied for 10th with a two-round score of 153 (+11).

At the fall qualifier, Trinity was the model of consistency, posting back-to-back rounds of 306 to finish in second place. Sophomore Jeff Durkin (Scituate, Mass.) fired identical rounds of 74 to pace the Bantams with a total of 148 (+4), garnering him First Team All-NESCAC accolades with the third-place showing. Durkin was joined on the first team by junior Greg Palmer (Cheshire, Conn.), the 2012 NESCAC Player of the Year. Palmer tied for fifth after posting a two-day score of 152 (+8). Junior Nick Buenaventura (Weston, Mass.) landed on the All-NESCAC Second Team with a two-round total of 155 (+11). Last weekend at the Williams’ Spring Invitational, Palmer garnered medalist honors with a two-day score of 142 (E) to help the Bantams finish fifth after posting a team result of 614. The next highest Trinity finisher was Buenaventura, who tied for 17th with a 155 (+13).

After the first day of the fall qualifier, Amherst sat in fifth place with a round of 317, but stormed back the next day with a 302 to leap into third place and advance to the spring championship for the first time since 2010. Sophomore James Line (Glastonbury, Conn.) led the charge with a two-day total of 152 (+8), which landed him on the All-NESCAC First Team. He was joined on the all-conference team by junior Josh Moser (San Francisco, Calif.), who shot a 155 (+11). This spring, Amherst won the Westport Hampton Inn Invitational with a two-round total of 634, while Moser took medalist honors with a 152. At Williams, the Jeffs took sixth following a two-round total of 622. Senior Nicholas Koh (Singapore) led the way with a combined score of 149 (+7), which was good for seventh. Four strokes back was junior Jarvis Sill (Portola Valley, Calif.), who tied for 10th at 153 (+11). The Jeffs have won eight conference titles, which ranks second among NESCAC teams, but have not captured the trophy since 1997. 

Defending champion Williams will look for its 12th conference championship this weekend. The Ephs (307) trailed Trinity (306) for third place by a single stroke after day one, and held on to secure the final spring championship berth with their performance on Sunday. Seniors Dylan Dethier (Williamstown, Mass.) and Cody Semmelrock (Pomfret Center, Conn.) led the Ephs with a two-day total of 155 (+11), good for a tie in 12th place. Both golfers earned All-NESCAC Second Team awards. Earlier this spring, Williams turned in a two-day total of 590, one stroke ahead of Middlebury (591), to win the NYU Invitational. First-year Grant Raffel (Palo Alto, Calif.) recorded a birdie on the first playoff hole to earn medalist honors after carding a two-round total of 144. The Ephs extended their hot streak last weekend, taking top honors at their Spring Invitational with a team score of 593, which was eight strokes ahead of Middlebury. Raffel also continued to play well, as he finished tied for second following a two-round total of 147 (+5). Right behind him was junior Jake Goldenring (Florham Park, N.J.), who tied for fourth after firing a 148 (+6). 

The origin of the Ralph Myhre Golf Course traces back to the 1920s, with the construction of the original nine holes taking place before the end of the decade. During the Great Depression the land was mortgaged and the course was not used at all during World War II. After the war, the property was leased to Middlebury College before it was eventually purchased by the college. Ralph Myhre took over management of the course in the 1960s and led the development of the current layout with work commencing in 1974 and finishing in 1978. Located in a scenic setting on rolling terrain adjacent to the Middlebury athletics facilities, the course features fairways that are wide open and small greens that are either elevated or multi-tiered. The back nine was formed around the original nine and demands shot accuracy along with a significant amount of patience. The scorecard for the course, which has a rating of 70.8 and a slope rating of 124, is a par-71 that totals 6,379 yards.

Results for the NESCAC Golf Championship will be available at the completion of each day at www.nescac.com.

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