BRUNSWICK, Maine - Bowdoin College will host the NESCAC Fall Championship Qualifier at Brunswick Golf Course in Brunswick, Maine this weekend. The two-day, 36-hole event includes defending NESCAC Champion Williams College, which earned its 11th overall conference title last spring.
Competition gets underway on Saturday, September 28 at 10:30 a.m. and concludes on Sunday, September 29. The highest team finisher earns the right to host the spring championship round at its home course along with the remaining top three teams from qualifying action.
Last year, Williams erased a two-stroke deficit on the final day of the championship to win the NESCAC title by the same margin for the first time since 2008. It was Eph senior Cody Semmelrock (Pomfret Center, Conn.) who helped Williams come back for the title with a team score of 592. Semmelrock picked up medalist honors when he turned in a score of 70 (-1) on the second day after trailing by four shots following a round of 73 on day one. In addition to Semmelrock, the Ephs bring three All-NESCAC selections to Brunswick. Seniors Dylan Dethier (Williamstown, Mass.) and Matt McCarron (Portland, Ore.) and junior Jake Goldenring (Florham Park, N.J.) each earned Second Team recognition following their performances last year. Dethier and Goldenring were also First Team All-NESCAC honorees in 2011.
This season the Ephs have improved with each tournament having registered a fifth-place finish at the Bowdoin Invitational (637) and a third-place showing at Middlebury's Duke Nelson Invitational (599) before winning their own Williams Invitational (607). Semmelrock paced the Ephs last weekend with a two-round score of 151, which tied for seventh place. First-year Grant Raffel (Palo Alto, Calif.) has joined the fray and should contend for all-conference honors after finishing seventh at the Bowdoin Invitational (156) and tying for 11th (152), along with McCarron, last weekend.
Looking to stand in Williams' way is Trinity, which had all five participants place in the top 10 overall en route to winning the 2012 fall qualifier for the first time since 2007 with a two-day score of 592 before placing second at the championship (594). The Bantams return four of those five golfers, including reigning NESCAC Player of the Year junior Greg Palmer (Cheshire, Conn.). Palmer earned the award after turning in scores of 76 (+4) and a tournament-best 71 (-1) to finish atop the leaderboard. He was joined on the first team by junior teammates Nick Buenaventura (Weston, Mass.), who was also the 2011 NESCAC Rookie of the Year and first-team honoree, and William Burchill (East Walpole, Mass.). Meanwhile, junior Donald Hunt (Andover, Mass.) was named to the second team. Trinity started the year by winning its own Trinity Invitational (606) before finishing seventh at the Duke Nelson Invitational (611), but rebounded with a third-place showing at the Williams Invitational (612).
Heading to Maine, no team has been more consistent throughout the season than Middlebury. The Panthers, who tied for third at last year's championship (607) and placed fourth during the last year's qualifier (611), have posted first-place showings at the Bowdoin Invitational (605) and the Duke Nelson Invitational (596) so far this season to go along with a fifth-place result at the Williams Invitational (618). Senior Rob Donahoe (Canton, Mass.), the 2010 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, has led the surge, tying for second at the Bowdoin Invitational with a two-day score of 149, capturing medalist honors at the Duke Nelson Invitational with a score of 139 and tying for seventh at the Williams Invitational (151). Senior Chris Atwood (Rochester, N.H.) joins Donahoe as a returning all-conference honoree after being named Second Team All-NESCAC in 2011.
Hamilton fired an identical team score of 607 at last year's championship to finish third with Middlebury. The Continentals earned a spot in the championship after posting a two-round score of 611, which was good for third place, at the qualifier. Three-time All-NESCAC honoree senior Greg Scott (New Haven, Vt.) and reigning NESCAC Rookie of the Year and second-team honoree Matt Yung (Wilmington, Del.) lead the way for Hamilton, which has placed fourth at Skidmore's Tim Brown Invitational (638), fifth at the Duke Nelson Invitational (603) and tied for eighth at the Williams Invitational (631). Scott appears to be peaking at the right time in order to contend for top honors after turning in the conference's best individual effort at the Williams Invitational with a third-place score of 149, and has not finished out of the top 10 this season. Senior Carter White (Thorton, N.H.) adds to the list of all-conference golfers on the Continental roster after having received a second team nod in 2011.
Amherst looks to advance to the championship round for the first time since 2010 following a strong sixth-place finish at the Williams Invitational (627). The Lord Jeffs have also turned in a second-place finish at the Trinity Invitational (619) and a 12th-place finish at the Duke Nelson Invitational (629). Amherst has had three different low scorers at each tournament, as junior Josh Moser (San Francisco, Calif.) placed fifth at the Trinity Invitational (151), sophomore James Line (Glastonbury, Conn.) finished sixth at the Duke Nelson Invitational (146) and junior Jarvis Sill (Portola Valley, Calif.) tied for seventh at the Williams Invitational (151). The Lord Jeffs also return two-time First Team All-NESCAC honoree Nicholas Koh (Singapore), who can card a low score on any course.
The host Polar Bears will look to take advantage of their home track to advance to their first-ever Spring Championship berth. Bowdoin has earned some solid showings in highly-competitive fields that included a seventh-place finish in the Bowdoin Invitational at Brunswick GC on September 7-8, as well as fourth-place showing at the Maine State Championship two weeks ago. Dustin Biron (Lancaster, Pa.) has the top individual finish in any tournament this autumn for Bowdoin with his sixth-place showing at the Bowdoin Invitational. Bobby Kaminski (Morristown, N.J.) was tenth at the Maine State Tournament while Matthew Mathias (Baltimore, Md.) was 12th.
The Brunswick Golf Club originated as a nine-hole course in 1898. The original nine holes were redesigned by highly regarded course designer Wayne Stiles and his apprentice John Van Kleek in 1921 and became the back nine in 1969 after Mal Strange and world-famous golf course architect Geoffrey Cornish designed and constructed an additional nine holes. The modern era of Brunswick Golf Club and its 18 holes are notably distinguished by the back-to-back par 5's followed by back-to-back par 3's, as well as the challenging par-4 sixth hole. Visitors certainly mention the picturesque approach over water on the par-5 ninth hole.The scorecard for the course from the blue tees is a par-72 that totals 6,601 yards with a rating of 71.0 and a slope rating of 129.
Results for the NESCAC Golf Championship Qualifier will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.
2013 NESCAC Golf Championship Qualifier
at Brunswick Golf Club – Brunswick, Maine
Day One – Saturday, September 28
Wave 1 - Trinity, Bates, Middlebury - 10:30 a.m.
Wave 2 - Hamilton, Bowdoin, Williams - 11:10 a.m.
Wave 3 - Amherst, Tufts, Wesleyan, Colby - 11:50 a.m.
Day Two – Sunday, September 29
Wave 1 – Three teams with Highest Cumulative Score from Day One - 9:30 a.m.
Wave 2 – Next three teams with Highest Cumulative Score from Day One – 10:10 a.m.
Wave 3 – Remaining four teams with Highest Cumulative Score from Day One – 10:50 a.m.