Golf Season Recap: New talent keeps the momentum going
|Mimi Neal ’12 made an immediate impact on the Bates golf team as a rookie.|
The 2008 Bates College golf team’s season began with a familiar new face at the helm, as longtime assistant coach and former head coach Bob Flynn assumed the head coach position again, taking over from head men’s lacrosse coach Peter Lasagna. Perhaps in part because Flynn had never left the team in the first place since sharing the team’s head coaching position in 2001, the Bobcats were able to continue and extend the momentum and success they had built from the 2007 season.
The men’s golf squad, already flush with some excellent players such as junior Kurt Schuler (Windham, N.H.) and Mike Kelen (Baltimore, Md.), added another standout in first-year Lee Smith (Lexington, Mass.).
The men’s and women’s teams repeated in sweeping the CBB Championship, which they hosted at their home Martindale Country Club in Auburn. For the men, who edged Bowdoin by two strokes, 414 to 416, it was their fourth CBB title in six years. The Bobcats received a 77 from Schuler and a 78 by Smith. Senior Tom Bowden (Falmouth, Maine) was third for Bates with an 84, while Kelen shot an 87 and senior captain Jeremy Rogalski (West Springfield, Mass.) carded an 88.
On the women’s side of the CBB, Bates first-year sensation Mimi Neal (Danvers, Mass.) led the Bobcat women’s golfers with an 86, earning medalist honors ahead of Bowdoin’s Libby Barton (90), as Bates dominated the Polar Bears by a 374-431 score. Libby King (South Portland, Maine) was second for Bates and third overall with a 94, while senior captain Liz Wilcox (South Glastonbury, Conn.) came in at 96 and first-year Brigid Dunn (Milford, Ohio) shot a 98.
Earlier in the short season, Smith captured NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors, as well as membership on the NESCAC All-Conference First Team, after he finished tied for fifth at the NESCAC Golf Qualifier at the par 71 Ralph Myhre Golf Course in Middlebury, Vt. The rookie followed his first-day score of 73 with 77 for a two-day score of 150, putting him in a four-way tie for fifth place with Jeff Cutter of Bowdoin, Jack Killea of Williams and Trinity’s Jay Driscoll. Trinity’s Reid Longley shot a 141 to lead the pack, capturing his second NESCAC Player of the Year award.
Smith is the third Bates golfer to receive NESCAC All-Conference honors in the past decade, after Dominic Lee ’04 in 2003 and Jake Cox ’08 in 2005, but he is the first Bobcat to receive First Team honors.
Smith and Kelen also captured All-State honors for their performances at the Maine Intercollegiate Golf Championships. Kelen shot a 78 on both days of the tournament at Natanis Golf Club, leading the Bobcats both days. Smith carded a two-day score of 163 to also finish among the top 10 and earn all-state recognition.
The Bates golf teams will miss the leadership of captains Rogalski and Wilcox, but they’ll return a great deal of talent on both the men’s and women’s sides, making for a strong outlook for the 2009 season.