The Middlebury women's golf team looks for its first NESCAC Championship this weekend when it competes at the 2017 NESCAC Women's Golf Championship. The two-day event in its third year as the official conference tournament will be hosted by Williams at the Taconic Golf Club (par-71; 5,819 yards) in Williamstown, Massachusetts on October 7-8. The golfers will tee off at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 7 and 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 8 in a shotgun start.
Middlebury lost just one golfer to graduation from last year's team that finished as the NESCAC Runner-Up by two strokes. The Panthers have earned a top-five finish in every tournament this season. Middlebury started the year with a second-place finish in the St. Lawrence Invitational (615). Sophomore Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt.), last year's medalist at the NESCAC Championship and an All-NESCAC selection, finished in a tie for fifth (150). At the Ann S. Batchelder Invitational, senior Katharine Fortin (Wellesley, Mass.), a two-time All-NESCAC honoree, led Middlebury to a third place finish (630) as she finished fourth overall with a score of 155. Fortin was also the Panthers' top golfer at their own George Phinney Classic (641), as she won the tournament with a two-day total of 156. Sophomore Blake Yaccino (Kenilworth, Ill.), another All-NESCAC performer for the Panthers, finished in a tie for sixth with a score of 154 to lead Middlebury to a fourth-place showing at the Mount Holyoke Invitational (634).
The Ephs have won both NESCAC Women's Golf Championships since the sport became sponsored by the conference in 2015. Williams opened the year with a second-place finish at the Ann S. Batchelder Invitational at Wellesley (622), then won the Mount Holyoke Invitational (603) for the eighth consecutive year, and finished third at the George Phinney Classic at Middlebury (653). Junior Cordelia Chan (Windsor, Ontario), a two-time All-NESCAC performer, was the medalist in the first two tournaments of the year, posting scores of 148 and 145, respectively. She added a second-place finish at Middlebury (157). Senior Phoebe Mattana (Demarest, N.J.), the 2015 NESCAC Player of the Year and two-time All-NESCAC selection, placed fifth at Wellesley (156) and was fourth at Mount Holyoke (153). Senior Elizabeth Gudas (Binghamton, N.Y.), the reigning NESCAC Player of the Year, earned a third-place finish at Mount Holyoke, shooting a score of 152 and was sixth at Middlebury (159).
Amherst will look to improve upon its third-place finish at the 2016 NESCAC Championship. The Mammoths won the Ann S. Batchelder Invitational (619) and captured first place at the George Phinney Classic (638). Amherst also finished third at the St. Lawrence (624) and Mount Holyoke Invitationals (628). Sophomore Morgan Yurosek (Irvine, Calif.), last year's NESCAC Rookie of the Year, has been a leader for Amherst again this season. She was the runner-up at Wellesley (151), earned a tie for fourth at Middlebury (158), and added a pair of top-15 finishes at St. Lawrence (T12-156) and Mount Holyoke (T15-158). Senior Zoe Wong (Hinsdale, Ill.) was the top golfer for the Mammoths at Mount Holyoke with a score of 156 to finish ninth. She recorded scores of 158 (16th) and 156 (T5) at St. Lawrence and Ann S. Batchelder events, respectively. Rookie Isabelle Ouyang (Edina, Minn.) led Amherst at the St. Lawrence Invitational (153) and finished tied for fifth at Wellesley (156). She also finished in a tie for second at the George Phinney Classic, posting a 36-hole score of 157.
Bowdoin returns all six golfers in 2017 from last year's team. The Polar Bears won their own invitational with a team score of 674 and captured the Maine State Championship (637) for the second straight season. Bowdoin finished 11th at the Mount Holyoke Invitational (708) and placed seventh at the George Phinney Classic (716). Sophomore Caroline Farber (Providence, R.I.) who was Bowdoin's first-ever All-NESCAC Women's Golf selection last year, has paced the Polar Bears. She won the Bowdoin Invitational by eight strokes (160) and took home first place at the Maine State Championship (146). She registered a score of 165 at the Mount Holyoke Invitational and posted a two-day total of 173 at Middlebury. Sophomore Emme McCabe (Dover, Mass.) and junior Diya Chopra (Dubai) have also been consistent golfers for the Polar Bears. McCabe was second at the Maine State Championship (148) and the Mount Holyoke Invitational (176). She also finished fifth at the Polar Bears' tournament (173). Chopra has contributed scores of 162 (Maine State Championship), 171 (Bowdoin Invitational), 176 (George Phinney Classic), and 182 (Mount Holyoke Invitational) this season.
Bates enters the NESCAC Championship with a pair of second-place finishes in two tournaments. The Bobcats were the runner-up at the Bowdoin Invitational (784) and took second in the Maine State Championship (767), which Bates hosted. Bates added an eighth-place finish at the George Phinney Classic (781). The trio of senior Kelly Wasserman (Middleton, Wis.) and rookies Brittany Seipp (Glen Head, N.Y.) and Andrea Hepfinger (Madison, Wis.) have led the Bobcats all season. Wasserman, an All-NESCAC selection last year, finished sixth at Bowdoin with a two-day score of 177. She also was the top Bobcat among the individuals that competed at the Mount Holyoke Invitational, finishing the tournament with a score of 189, and recorded a two-day total of 174 at Middlebury. Seipp led Bates at the Maine State Championships, tying for fourth with a score of 174. She also placed eighth (196) at the Bowdoin Invitational. Hepfinger's best performances heading into the NESCAC Championship have been a seventh-place showing at the Maine State Championship (185) and a seventh-place finish at the Bowdoin Invitational (142).
Hamilton has finished in the top-10 in each tournament this season. The Continentals won their own invitational to start the year (694), then finished seventh at the St. Lawrence Invitational (677) and added a third-place finish at the William Smith Invitational (722). Hamilton also earned an eighth-place finish at the Mount Holyoke Invitational (664) and finished fifth at the George Phinney Classic (670). Sophomore Winda Wanikpun (Bang Kapi, Thailand) earned medalist honors at both the Hamilton Invitational (162) and was 10th at the William Smith Invitational (176). Junior Libbie Warner (Richmond, Va.) was the runner-up in the Continental's own tournament (167) and led Hamilton at both the Mount Holyoke Invitational (159) and at Middlebury (163). First-year Celia Lau (Sarasota, Fla.) has contributed as well, earning fourth-place at the Hamilton Invitational (179) and posted scores of 170 at the Mount Holyoke Invitational and 167 at the George Phinney Classic.
In addition to the six teams competing in this year's NESCAC Women's Golf Championship, Wesleyan sophomore Saadia Naeem (Scarsdale, N.Y.) and Gabby Christensen and Sarah Vimini of Trinity will compete as individuals. Naeem is making her second-straight appearance at the NESCAC Championship, while Trinity is sending individuals to compete for the first time.
Results for the NESCAC Women's Golf Championship will be available following the completion of each day at NESCAC.com.
-- Courtesy of the NESCAC --