Head coach Rick Pohle has about six weeks to mold his young linksters – five of his top 10 players are first years – into a team capable of overtaking top-seeded Trinity and capture the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament that goes to the NESCAC champion.
Trinity will host the NESCAC Championship Tournament April 26
& 27 in Hartford, Connecticut, where Middlebury and Hamilton
will also compete.
In a short season that features just four events before the NESCAC Championship Tournament, the Ephs' two-week spring break trip to the Vero Beach, Florida area becomes crucial.
"We have eight very capable players going on the spring break trip and I anticipate they will be very engaged in trying to push each other to play their best golf every day," said Pohle. "The spring season is very short and there is not a lot of time to spend trying to find your game. We will identify the ones that will give us the best chance to reach our goals and see how things turn out."
The Ephs will have an opportunity to gauge their early season development in the Sunshine State when they face Wesleyan and Hamilton March 22 in Ft. Pierce in the Indian Hills Invitational.
|Brendan Conley '08|
Although Pohle has five first years in the mix on his roster, he
also has experienced and talented senior co-captain Brendan Conley
and junior Tyler Zara on hand to steady the young guns. Both Conley
and Zara earned All-NESCAC First Team honors in 2006.
During the fall campaign Conley fashioned a stroke average of 77.6 and Zara posted a 78.3.
"We have a great mix of players on our roster and our upperclassmen have had a lot of tournament experience at the college level – they know what to expect," said Pohle. "We have the added benefit of the return of junior Matt Felser from a fall semester abroad to further deepen our roster. I think the younger players have learned a lot from the upperclassmen, both on and off the golf course and they are not just content with waiting for their time to step in to contribute. I think we are a very dangerous team patiently waiting to show what we can do on the course."
Last fall three Eph first years collected All-NESCAC honors when the Ephs finished third in the NESCAC Qualifier at Hamilton. Jacob Wagner earned First Team honors as he tied for fourth with a two-day total of 150. Jack Killea and Bob Camp each earned Second Team honors. Killea carded a 151to finish eighth and Camp tied for 12th when he finished at 154.
|John Killea '11||Tyler Zara '09|
Killea posted the best stroke average on the Eph squad in the
fall at 76.1; Wagner was second with 76.6 and Camp was third at
First year Drew Murray had two strong showings in the fall and will battle for a spot in the Eph lineup at the NESCAC Golf Championship. Twice Murray notched the Ephs' best score when he carded a 76 at the Spartan Invitational at Rutland [VT] Country Club and when he fired a two-day 152 at the Hamilton Invite. Murray's fall stroke average was 78.0.
Others expected to contest for a spot in the Eph top five include seniors Nicholas Nottebohm (a co-captain) and Jeff Lin, junior Rahul Bahl and first year Jack Wadden. Nottebohm recorded a fall stroke average of 79.3.
"Frankly speaking, I really do not know what the lineup may look like until we finish up with the spring trip," Pohle stated. "I will be looking for players that can prove their consistency round after round during this early portion of the season. There are a number of possible combinations going through my head, but I’ll have to see who really wants to address their weaknesses and figure out how they can become a better golfer."
Consistency is always a key in golf and that often requires time, which this season will not be in great supply. After spring break the Ephs will play at Skidmore's Palamountain Invitational (April 13-14), at the Western New England College (April 17) and at home vs. Middlebury on April 19 in a cup match competition, before putting it all on the line in Hartford.
|Bob Camp '11|
"Golf is a sport driven by confidence, positive experiences,
good course management skills and mental/emotional control," noted
Pohle. "Players that understand these are the ones that have the
best opportunity to succeed more often that. All our players have
the talent to hit the golf ball – it’s up to me to
teach them all the other things."
Along with qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005, winning the Little Three title is also a goal of Pohle's Ephs. This year the Ephs will host the 36-hole stroke and match play event on April 23. Pohle has directed the Ephs to 10 consecutive Little Three titles.
"As far as goals, I want my players to approach each hole they play this spring season as a separate challenge and to try to post the best score on it that they can – given the circumstances at hand. If they do that, then we will have earned the benefits associated with playing good golf," commented Pohle.