Last weekend, the men’s golf team opened its 2011 fall season at the Trinity College Invitational. Held at the Tallwood and Blackledge country clubs, the tournament represented the first test for the Jeffs since their impressive 2010-2011 season.
Last year, the team qualified for the NESCAC Championship for the first time in team history, and although the Jeffs lost two seniors from that team, they return eight players and have high expectations for this season.
At Trinity, however, the season got off to a rather rough start. After finishing third in the tournament last year, the Jeffs found themselves in a deep hole after Saturday’s round one play. Amherst shot 310, putting them in seventh place out of 12 teams.
The Lord Jeffs, however, came back with a vengeance on Sunday, putting together an inspired team-wide performance to climb four spots and finish in an impressive third place. Their cumulative round of 301 tied for the lowest team score on Sunday. Notable among Amherst’s scorers were Alex Butensky ’13 and Nicholas Koh ’14, both of whom led the Sunday charge with matching team- and career-best 73s. After both players shot 78 on Saturday, they were outstanding when it counted, leading Amherst’s final round comeback.
Butensky’s effort is especially impressive considering his career improvement at this tournament. After carding 166 as a freshman and 157 last year, he was able to shave off another six strokes to be a real difference maker in the Jeffs’ comeback.
Also impressive, finishing only two strokes behind Butensky and Koh, senior captain Nate Belkin ’12 paced the team on Saturday with a round one 74 before finishing with a respectable 79 on Sunday.
Amherst’s veterans, however, could not have pulled off their Sunday comeback without a little young help. First-year Jarvis Sill more than held his own, as he shot a final round 76 (82-76-158), while his fellow freshman, Josh Moser, was very steady in his collegiate debut (80-81-161).
Having kept pace with last year’s team in their first tournament, the Jeffs will look to build on their performance next weekend. The team travels to Middlebury to compete in the Duke Nelson Invitational. Building off their brilliant Sunday play, they will hope to continue their roll and put together another solid team performance.