Richard Lord | Tee to Green: Williams women's golf team comes up just short of national title

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When the Williams College women's golf team captured the NCAA Division III national championship in 2015 it was remarkable performance. Not only did they overcome dreadful weather that made practicing an indoor sport for interim coach Bill Kangas' team, the Ephs also became the first New England school to win an NCAA national championship at any level in golf since the 1940s.

Three years later, the Ephs just completed another great season and NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, this one came with an agonizing finish. After Williams rallied from a four-shot, third-round deficit with a strong opening nine, Calfornia's Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College scrambled back to force a 10-player, sudden-death playoff. It took all 10 players playing the 18th hole twice before the Ephs came up one shot short.

Williams coach Tomas Adalsteinsson, who replaced Kangas at the helm, has now led the Ephs to fourth- and second-place finishes in his two years at the helm and certainly didn't view his team's performance as any kind of defeat.

"I couldn't ask more from the team," Adalsteinsson said. "They fought so hard today and all week. Clinching the playoff spot for the national title is an experience we will never forget and we will learn so much from this championship. Obviously, we would have liked to win, but we definitely did not lose. CMS played well all week and are well-deserving champions. Congratulations to them, and huge thanks to our seniors, Liz (Gudas) and Phoebe (Mattana) on a phenomenal college career."

As had been the case all season, Adalsteinsson got contributions all around with four of his five golfers finishing in the top 15 individually, led by freshman Holly Davenport, who tied for 10th to earn honorable mention All-American honors. When Davenport faltered to an 82 in the final round, junior Isabella Wang, who had struggled in the opening three rounds, chipped in with a 79 that helped lift the Ephs into the playoff.

"I was really proud of the way I bounced back from my first three days and be there for my team today," said Wang "I played smart and found confidence in my long game but was able to make key up-and-downs when I needed to."

Gudas and Mattana, who both shot final-round 77s, tied for 13th and junior Cordella Chan tied for 15th after a finishing 80.

Williams' runner-up finish marks the seventh year in a row that the Ephs have finished in the top five in the national tournament. The run started under the leadership of Berkshire native Erika DeSanty, who coincidentally coached Princeton to its second consecutive women's Ivy League championship this spring.

With Davenport, Chan and Wang all returning, it certainly won't be a surprise if the Ephs make another strong title run next spring as they continue to defy history for schools who play in chilly New England.

***

Stockbridge Golf Club will be hosting some of the region's best amateurs and professionals on Monday when the U.S. Golf Association holds a local U.S. Open qualifier at the historic course.

A field of 55 golfers — 33 of them amateurs and 28 from out of state — will tee off knowing they need to make birdies and perhaps even an eagle considering only the top three finishers will advance to sectional qualifying. The next two finishers will receive alternate status.

Three pros from Berkshire County courses — Country Club of Pittsfield head professional Eric Mabee, CC of P assistant Matt Kiehle and Taconic Golf Club head professional Josh Hillman — will be among those trying to advance.

Mabee has proven he can compete with the area's best pros over the past few years, battling shot-for-shot with Northeast New York PGA Section kingpin Scott Berliner in the section's biggest events. Berliner will also be in the field on Monday. Hillman has made it through the local qualifier successfully in the past.

Given that any eventual qualifier needs to go low, it should be an interesting day considering that while not long — measuring 6,655 yards from the back tees — the ever-present Housatonic River can provide plenty of trouble for those who get a little too aggressive hunting for birdies.

***

The Connecticut team of Paul Dinardo (Richter Park Golf Course) and Kevin Vandenberg (Tuscarora Golf Club) combined for a 2-under 138 total for 36 holes to capture Wyantenuck Country Club's Spring Open last weekend.

The winners had back-to-back rounds of 69 to edge out the Albany-region duo of Joe Fitzsimmons and Joe Welch by a single shot in the best-ball event.

Tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl and partner Ray Underwood, members at Torrington Country Club (Conn.), tied for third place with the Berkshire Hills team of Bob Linn and Jim Warren.

***

The Berkshire County Senior Golf Association, which has been in existence since 1953, is accepting new members ages 50 and above for the 2018 season.

The BCSGA annually holds three tournaments per season and this year's host courses — Wyantenuck Country Club, Wahconah Country Club and Cranwell Resort and Spa — make the $190 fee well worth the price. The dues cover the green fee, a meal at each event and prizes. The format is individual gross and net play by age and index divisions with a shotgun start at noon for each tournament.

Those interested in joining should contact Tom Halstead at thalstea@berkshire.rr.com.

***

Hinsdale's Bas Ridge Monday Night Golf League is in the need a few golfers to fill out its large league.

The Bas Ridge Golf Course league features fives divisions of eight to 10 teams. The league is in the need of a single golfer to round out the eighth team in the fourth division (tee times always between 4-4:30) and a complete two-man team for the 10-team 4:30-5:10 division.

The league features weekly two-man tournaments (net scoring) with prizes in addition to five tournaments that feature low net and low gross prizes. The last tournament will conclude with a season-ending banquet.

To sign up or for more information call Bob Baillargeon at 413-238-5382 or the golf course at -413-655-2605.

Richard Lord can be reached at relord633@gmail.com or 413-281-2226.-

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LOCAL RESULTS

Wyantenuck Spring Open


at Wyantenuck Country Club

May 4-5

Best-ball, medal play

36 holes

Flight 1

1. Dinardo-Vandenberg, 69-69 -- 138. 2. Fitzsimmons-Welch, 69-70 -- 139. 3. (tie) Lendl-Underwood, 72-68 -- 140; Linn-Warren, 70-70 -- 140.

Flight 2

1. Cooper-Gilbert, 67-72 -- 139. 2. Alois-Hope, 71-71 --142. 3. Comi-Stoffer, 71-74 -- 145.

Flight 3

1. Snyder-Snyder, 68-74 -- 142. 2. Knapp-Menchzysa, 74-69 -- 143. 3. Braman-Braman, 75-71 -- 146.

Flight 4

1. Johnson-Schaller, 68-72 -- 140. 2. Grimaldi-Nachtrieb, 70-71 -- 141. 3. Lavinio-Lavinio, 70-72 -- 142.

Flight 5

1. Cogswell-Costa, 71-76 -- 147. 2. (tie) Dirk-Weigold, 71-78 -- 149; Radachowsky-Russell, 73-76 -- 149. 3. Flanagan-Flanagan, 74-75 -- 149.

Flight 6

1. Barry-Watkins, 72-75 -- 147. 2. Gibbs-Reynolds, 72-78 -- 150. 3. Akimoto-Smith, 74-76 -- 150.

Bas Ridge Golf Course

Hinsdale's Bas Ridge Monday Night League


Net Skins

Ted DiPetro

Low gross

Bob Baillargeon, 34; Jim Balardini, 35; Paul Engwer, 36; Tom Fox, 37;

Dan Kirouac,37.

Low net

Scott Colbert, 29; Tom Fox, 30; Ed Hornstein, 32; Mike Walsh, 32; Brad Klose, 33; Mike Landry, 33; Tom Higgins, 33.


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