April 26, 2012
The Hamilton College men’s golf team’s season culminates this weekend at Williams with a chance to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
The team will play Taconic Golf Club, which is one of the top 100 golf courses in the country and will provide a stern test of the team’s mental and physical game.
It has been a hard-fought season for the Continentals, who have played well but have yet to capture that elusive tournament victory despite coming close so many times. They are peaking at the right time, and there is no reason why this weekend could not be the week that all of the puzzle pieces fit together.
The emotion is palpable for Senior Captain Scott Blosser, because this is his last chance to take a trip to the NCAA tournament:
“I can't really describe what it would mean for us to win this weekend and play in the NCAA tournament. It would be a dream come true for everyone on the team and would be the ultimate reward for the hard work that everyone on the team has put in throughout their golfing careers.”
The Continentals worked hard to get to this point. After the first day of the NESCAC championship qualifier in the fall, Hamilton was outside of the top four teams (only four schools qualify for the spring championship). But they recovered due in part to a sterling 69 by sophomore All-American Greg Scott. They slipped inside the top four to pave the way for their chance this spring.
Thus far, the Continentals have yet to live up to all of their potential in the spring. Sometimes it is tough to put together two good rounds of golf in a row, and the team seems to play well one day and then mediocre on another, which is not how they will win this golf tournament.
They have finished second, third, ninth and fourth in their tournaments in the spring, but if they can put together two good rounds this weekend, they can walk away with a trip to the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, FL for the NCAA Division III Golf Championship.
The weather going into the weekend looks miserable, which make it tough for anyone to score at Taconic. Yet, the Continentals are relishing the challenge.
Captain Greg Scott said, “I'd say that if the weather is poor, it will equalize the field and give us our best chance. When it rains, half the field quits...we just can't be that half.”
The field for the NESCAC championship includes Hamilton, Trinity, Middlebury and Williams, who won the fall qualifier and is the host of the championship in the spring.
“Personally, I think Middlebury is the favorite. Williams won the fall qualifier but has had a poor track record in this tournament over the last few years,” said Blosser on the fact that Williams has home course advantage. “Middlebury is so consistent and has a pension for going low on Sunday, so you have to watch out for them.”
Last weekend, every team made a trip to Williams for a preparation tournament, which Williams won and Middlebury was seven shots back. Hamilton and Trinity were another five shots back from Middlebury. However, Hamilton was the only team to improve the second day, during which the weather was terrible, and was ahead of all of the other teams by more than eight shots.
So, if that’s any indication of what is to come, then the Continentals could punch a ticket to Florida in a few weeks. As Scott said, “Let's just hope for poor weather! Bring on the rain and wind and look out. Determination goes a long way.”