Lord Jeffs Primed for NCAA Title Run
First Team All-American Hayley Milbourn returns
as Amherst's top player.
The Amherst College women’s golf team had another banner year in 2008-09, as the side won five tournaments and finished as the runner-up in another two. After placing fifth in their season opener at Dartmouth College against a field of top teams last fall, Amherst won its lone fall tournament before placing second in consecutive weeks at Wellesley and Middlebury.
In the spring season, Amherst turned up their game and won three straight tournaments including wins at the Vassar Invitational, the Massachusetts State Championships and the Jack Leaman Championship. Amherst’s amazing run of wins came to a close at Williams with a third place finish, before ending the spring regular season with another tournament team victory at the Wellesley Spring Tournament.
With the great regular season, Amherst qualified for the NCAA Championships for the third time this decade. The Lord Jeffs wrapped up one of the most successful seasons in program history at the NCAA’s in Port St. Lucie, Florida, finishing 13th at the PGA Golf Club. The tournament marked the end of the career for Amherst’s lone senior, Amanda Otieno. A two-sport student-athlete, Otieno walked onto the women’s golf team just a few years ago. She will graduate having been part of the best season in the history of the women’s basketball program, while also helping the women’s golf team one of its best seasons.
This Year’s Team
The Amherst program has grown in recent years, as head coach Michelle Morgan enters the fall season with nine players on the roster. Two seniors will help provide veteran leadership this fall, as senior captain Kinne Schwartz and classmate Alex Chang-Graham return to the links. Schwartz has been one of the Lord Jeff’s best players over the last few years, while Chang-Graham has provided depth to the team each fall, before taking time away to pitch for the Amherst softball team each spring.
Amherst’s returns just a single junior from last year’s, and luckily it happens to be NGCA First Team All-American Hayley Milbourn. Last year, Milbourn consistently led the team in scoring, and individually won three tournaments, while placing second at another. Milbourn picked up wins at Middlebury, the Jack Leaman and Wellesley, while finishing second at Vassar.
The Jeffs welcome back three second-year players who had phenomenal rookie seasons, each playing in the lineup week, after week. Sophomores Elaine Lin, Laura Monty and Nina Yoo each scored well last season for Amherst, with Yoo and Monty earning NGCA Academic All-American honors.
Joining the team this fall will be a pair of first-years, including rookie Liz Monty and Irene Hickey. Liz Monty is the younger sister of sophomore Laura, and should compete for a spot in the lineup immediately, while Hickey could also make an impact this season.
Amherst opens up its fall swing next weekend at Dartmouth College, before playing locally at the Mount Holyoke Invitational at The Orchards. The Jeffs will compete at three tournaments in October, traveling to Middlebury, Williams and Wellesley before breaking for the winter. With the return of a very talented group, and another solid first-year class, Amherst could make serious waves at the NCAAs once again next spring if the team plays well.