Amherst Looks to Carry Momentum Off Strong 2009-10 Finish
2009-10 Season Recap
The Amherst College men’s golf team played in four tournaments last fall, with its best finish of the season coming at the Williams Fall Invitational. The Lord Jeffs shaved ten strokes off their day one score of 309, carding a 299 on Sunday to finish in seventh place among a 16-team field with a two-day score of 608.
Trip Wray '11
After a 13th place finish at the Middlebury Fall Invitational, the Lord Jeffs failed to qualify for the 2010 NESCAC Championship with a sixth place finish at the NESCAC Qualifier. Only the top four teams in the 10-team Qualifier earn a spot in the Championship, and the Jeffs could not recover from a day one 318 to punch a ticket to the conference tournament.
The spring season saw Amherst play in another three tournaments, before wrapping up the year by hosting the 2010 Little Three Championships. Amherst opened the spring with a ninth place showing at UMass-Dartmouth, before returning to Williams for a fifth place result. Amherst’s final invitational tournament was at Worcester State, where for the third straight event Trip Wray '11 led the Jeffs in scoring to place seventh individually.
The Lord Jeffs wrapped the year hosting Little Three archrivals Williams and Wesleyan for 36 holes of action at Hickory Ridge Country Club. Amherst finished in second place, with rookie Ben Johnston leading the way with wins in all four of his matches.
Amherst graduated just one senior in May, losing co-captain Adam Schniderman. The four-year contributor provided leadership on and off the course as one of only two upperclassmen, and helped usher in a new era for the Lord Jeffs who had seven players entering last season with no more than one year of collegiate experience.
This Year’s Team
Senior Trip Wray finished last spring on a roll, leading the Lord Jeffs in scoring in their final three tournaments. As one of only two seniors on the team and a co-captain this year, Wray will be counted on to bring the team together for a run at qualifying for the NESCAC Championship Tournament. Wray was one of only five NESCAC golfers to earn the distinction of Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-American Scholar for last year. To qualify, Wray maintained a stroke average under 79.0, and a grade point average above 3.2, while competing in at least 70 percent of the team’s competitive rounds.
Fellow senior co-captain Mike Belkin will be looked to for added consistency this fall to remain a major contributor, while younger brother Nate Belkin has positioned himself on the verge of entering the ranks of the NESCAC’s elite. Junior Mark Colp returns for his second year after joining the team last spring and will provide depth in the lineup, while classmate Matt Parsons will return in the spring after spending the fall semester abroad.
Sophomore Alex Butensky had a very solid rookie season last year, and will be looked upon to be a regular in the lineup alongside classmate Ben Johnton. Johnston finished the spring very strong, and will be looked at to carry momentum into the fall schedule. Classmate Jared Kusma also returns as a sophomore, now with a full season of college competition under his belt.
First-years Nicholas Koh and Erik Hansen both join the team this fall, and have shown the potential to play in the top five immediately.
The Lord Jeffs have four team events scheduled for the fall, including tournaments at Trinity, Middlebury and Williams on three consecutive weekends in September. The fall season comes to a climax on October 2-3 at the 2010 NESCAC Championship Qualifier at Trinity College. Two weeks later, the Lord Jeffs will host a NESCAC Match Play event at nearby Cumpin-Fox Golf Club in Bernardston to close out the fall.