Promising Stars Ready to Lead Amherst Back to National Championships

Sophomore Hayley Milbourn was named the 2007 NGCA Division III Freshman of the Year.

2007-08 Season Recap
Last year’s Amherst squad was able to improve upon the 2006-07 season in virtually every match, thanks in large part to the success of several up-and-coming golfers. Notably, the Lord Jeffs placed fifth at last year’s Mount Holyoke Invitational after finishing 10th the previous year, and finished as the runner-up at the Wellesley Invitational after placing fourth in 2006. At the Wellesley Invite, which was arguably the best team performance of the year, each of Amherst’s five golfers placed in the top 20 in a field of nearly 50 individuals.

Last season concluded with the Williams College Invitational and the Jeffs went out with a bang, shooting a tournament-low round of 333 on Sunday for a 23-stroke improvement from the day before, as the Jeffs placed third in a field of nine teams. Amherst was well on its way to making a strong case for a spot in the NCAA Championships for a second consecutive season, but academic obligations prevented the Jeffs from making the trip.

For the second consecutive season, Amherst loses the services of just one player to graduation. This time around, the Jeffs part with Ali Berman ’08, last year’s team captain. Berman ended her Amherst career on a high note by helping her team place third at the Williams College Invitational. After shooting an 87 on the first day, Berman improved her score to 85 on the second day to shoot a 172 in her final tournament, as she placed 13th individually to mark her best finish of the spring. Berman was honored by the National Golf Coaches Association for her success in the classroom, earning an All-American Scholar Team selection for holding a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50 and having competed in at least 66 percent of Amherst’s competitive rounds during the year.

This Year’s Team
Youth will once again be the name of the game for Amherst, with Hayley Milbourn—last year’s NGCA Division III Freshman of the Year—leading the way. Milbourn closed out a sensational rookie campaign with another individual title after shooting a 74 on day two of the Williams Spring Invitational, a score that tied the women’s collegiate competition record at Taconic Golf Club. The individual crown was the fifth of the year for Milbourn, who also finished first individually at the Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke, Vassar, and Jack Leaman invitationals. Milbourn also finished in second place in a tournament at Wellesley and at the Massachusetts State Championships, as she was the team’s top scorer in all nine matches.

Kinne Schwartz, who finished with Amherst’s second best score in seven of nine matches last year, will lead this year's juniors. Notably, Schwartz finished just five strokes behind Milbourn at Williams last fall, tied for 19th place at the Vassar Invitational and tied for fourth at the Jack Leaman Invite. To close out the spring season, Schwartz shot a 174 to land in a tie for 15th place at the Williams Spring Invite. Rounding out the Class of 2010 is Alex Chang-Graham, will be busy in the spring with the softball team. Last fall, Chang-Graham demonstrated her potential by shooting an 87, 87 and 86 in her final three rounds to hang with the rest of her team and bring her game to the next level. Senior Amanda Otieno will once again sit out the fall season due to her obligations with Amherst’s women’s basketball team but will join the Jeffs during the spring.

Alissa Korpi and Jordan Chafetz also return to the team as sophomores. While Chafetz will look to get back to usual form after taking a year off, Korpi will try to match her 12th place performance from last year’s Wellesley Invite, at which she shot a 172 to mark the team’s second lowest score of the weekend.

Joining the team are first-years Elaine Lin, Laura Monty and Nina Yoo. The 2005 Connecticut Section PGA Girls Player of the Year, Monty was crowned the Connecticut State Junior Girls Champion in 2006 to go along with a Junior PGA Sportsmanship Award. Having experienced similar success is Lin, who in 2007 won the Middle Atlantic Golf Association Girls Junior Championship with a score of 75 at Mount Vernon Country Club in Alexandria, Virginia. A senior captain and Most Valuable Player honoree, Yoo was a part of two state championship teams at Northview High School in Duluth, Georgia, placing seventh individually in last year’s state tournament.

Season Outlook
With the loss of only one golfer to graduation and the return of several talented younger players, Amherst has a legitimate chance to surge forward and become one of the elite teams in the NESCAC. The Lord Jeffs were consistent throughout the 2007-08 season and ended the year on a high note, and this year have set their sights on returning to the NCAA Championships.