Men's Golf Still Competitive Despite Missing Top Two Players
By Varun Iyengar '14, Sports Section Editor
Last week was a busy one for the men’s golf team. The Lord Jeffs competed in two tournaments, traveling to the Blackstone National Golf Course to participate in the Worcester State Invitational on Tuesday before teeing off at the NESCAC Spring Opener over the weekend at Williams. While the first tournament was scheduled as a one-day event, the second ended up the same when tournament referees cancelled due to inclement weather.

At Worcester State, the Jeffs placed 14th out of a field of 18 teams. While on paper the result might seem sub-par for a team that had finished no lower than 6th in their previous spring tournaments, the performance was actually quite respectable given that the Jeffs were missing their top two players. However, Alex Butensky ’13 made up for that absence quite impressively, leading the Jeffs with a nine over, 81, to place 21st among individuals. He finished 12 strokes behind individual champion Nick Zolotas of Salem State, who helped the Vikings earn the team title as well. Nicholas Koh ’14 finished second for the Jeffs, coming in at 12 over par (42-42-84), but was remarkably consistent as he put up the same score on the front and back nine. Mike Belkin ’11 and Jared Kusma ’13 rounded out Amherst’s scoring, coming into the clubhouse at 87 and 91, respectively, putting the team’s total at 345 strokes for the tournament.

On Sunday, at the Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown, the Jeffs earned a fifth place finish out of six teams. Again without their two best players, the Jeffs persevered and were rewarded with notable improvement from their performance earlier in the week. As Butensky explained afterwards, “We played better and even though no one was firing on all cylinders, our top four guys still managed to grind out solid scores in the low 80s.”

In fact, the Jeff’s top four were all within three shots of one another. Nate Belkin ’12 and Koh led the Jeffs, both shooting a team-low 81 and tying for 22nd place. Right on their heels were Mark Colp ’12 (40-42-82) and Butensky (42-41-83) and, collectively, they put Amherst’s team score at 327 for the tournament. Unfortunately, the team fell well short of the low score of the day (301) by Middlebury, which also claimed the individual honors when Jim Levins (39-32-71) used a scorching back nine to post the only sub-par score on the day.

The Jeffs will look to build on their improvement as they head into the final week of the season. The team returns to Williamstown on Wednesday to take part in the Little Three Championship, which will feature match play between Williams, Wesleyan, and Amherst. However, the team is also looking ahead to the coming weekend, when it will get to represent Amherst in the NESCAC Championship for the first time in school history. The team has worked hard for this moment and will lean on their momentum and chemistry to carry them through the challenges that await.

Issue 24, Submitted 2011-04-27 03:21:10