Jeffs Welcome Back Deep Group for 2011-12 Season

Contact: Justin Long

Amherst has won 11 tournaments in the past three years.

The past few years have seen Amherst’s women’s golf program become a national contender under the leadership of head coach Michelle Morgan, who returns for a 22nd season with the Lord Jeffs. Amherst has won 11 tournaments in the past three years and is the two-time defending champion of the annual NESCAC Tournament. Last season the Jeffs earned four runner-up finishes and notably placed sixth in a field of 21 teams at the Jekyll Island Invitational, a prestigious tournament that featured 11-time defending NCAA champion Methodist and three other teams ranked nationally in the top 10.

Amherst takes a big hit with the loss of three-time NGCA All-America selection Hayley Milbourn ’11, who graduated this past May as one of the best players in program history. With two of the team’s top golfers studying abroad during the first semester, Amherst’s scores in the fall tournaments may be deceivingly higher than usual. “I am very hopeful of this year’s team,” Morgan says. “We have two great leaders in our captains, and several players are on the verge of breaking through into new scoring territory. Building team chemistry will be our first chore.”

Highlighting the senior class is Elaine Lin ’12, who has been one of Amherst’s most accomplished golfers since 2008. In her debut season she led the field after day one of the Jack Leaman Championship and finished third overall, also tying for the team’s lowest score at Wellesley. As a sophomore she recorded one of the team’s three lowest scores in seven tournaments, notably leading the Jeffs at Wellesley by placing fourth overall. Her success continued last year as she carded the team’s second lowest score in four of her first five events, putting in three rounds below 80 along the way.

Elaine Lin '12 has been one of Amherst's most
accomplished golfers since the 2008-09 season.

Sharing captain duties with Lin is Laura Monty ’12, who burst onto the scene back in 2008 with a dominant rookie campaign. She finished the 2008-09 season with one of Amherst’s two lowest scores on five occasions, including at the NCAA Championships. Her sophomore season was highlighted by a fifth-place finish at the George Fox Invitational, where she shot a 74 on day two to move up with the front of the pack. Last year Monty spent the fall season abroad but began to return to form by the end of the year, closing out her junior season with an 80 on the second day of the Williams Invitational.

Coach Morgan is excited about the leadership qualities Lin and Monty bring to the table. “They complement each other really well,” Morgan says. “Laura is an organizer who will demand a lot from her teammates, and that’s a great thing. Elaine is quiet but garners great respect from every player because of her work ethic, thoughtfulness and sensitivity. They are both terrific golfers who I know can shoot in the 70s on a consistent basis.”

Rounding out a strong senior class is Nina Yoo ’12, who has put in her share of dominant rounds since setting foot on campus. As a first-year she finished with one of Amherst’s top three scores in six events, and as a sophomore she helped the Jeffs win the Williams Invitational by shooting a 78 on the first day. Last year Yoo’s best tournament came at Mount Holyoke, as she shot a 75 on the first day to head into the second round only one stroke behind the leader. “Nina is a solid player,” Morgan says. “There isn’t too much wrong with her game. If she can improve her mental approach, I think she’ll be great for us.”

Highlighting this year’s team is Liz Monty ’13, who began to establish herself as one of the team’s dominant players when she led the Jeffs to the Massachusetts State Championship team title as a first-year by winning the individual crown. Her sophomore season was exceptional, as she finished with Amherst’s lowest score in four of the season’s final five events, notably closing out the year with an impressive 74 on day two of the Williams Invitational. “Liz has a great physical and mental approach to the game,” Morgan says. “She keeps things lively and shows the team how to have fun.”

Liz Monty '13 had Amherst's lowest score in
four of the 2010-11 season's final five events.

Monty will spend her fall semester studying abroad in St. Andrew’s, Scotland, along with teammate and classmate Irene Hickey ’13. As a sophomore Hickey was one of only five NESCAC golfers named an All-America Scholar by the NGCA. Her best performance of the 2010-11 season came at the Mount Holyoke Invitational, where she shot an 88-85-173 to tie for 41st place in a field of 74. “Irene is so important to our team,” Morgan says. “She’s on the verge of cracking the top-5 on a consistent basis. We will miss her and Liz this fall, but if a golf coach could wish for a place for her players to go for a semester, St. Andrews isn't half bad.”

Consistently rounding out Amherst’s scorers last year were Sooji Choi ’14 and Kristen Lee ’14, who Coach Morgan hopes can build off promising rookie seasons. Choi finished with the team’s fourth best score in four events as a first-year, with her best tournament coming at the Mount Holyoke Invitational (83-83-166). Lee, meanwhile, was consistently Amherst’s fifth scorer before moving up to fourth at Jekyll Island and third at the Jack Leaman Championship. Her performance at the Jack Leaman event wound up being her best, as she shaved five strokes off her day-one total to finish with a 171.

Rounding out the team are Minjeong Koo ’14 and newcomer Katherine Britt ’15. Koo is fairly new to the game and did not factor into Amherst’s scoring last year, but Coach Morgan is confident she will build off the vast improvement she saw as a first-year. Britt comes to the team from Arlington, Mass., and will bring an outstanding energy to the group. “Katherine will become a major scorer at some point, but I’m particularly excited about the attitude she brings to the team. Our dynamic is going to be key this year.”

The 2011-12 season is set to begin Saturday, Sept. 17, when the Lord Jeffs begin the two-day NYU Invitational.