Many new faces for men's golf as season starts this weekend

Photo by Michael P. Doherty
Photo by Michael P. Doherty

The Hamilton College men's golf team opens this season with the 2018 Hamilton Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1.

Saturday's shotgun start is set for 1 p.m. at Yahnundasis Golf Club in New Hartford. Sunday's second and final round begins in the morning with another shotgun start at 9:30. The Continentals will be joined this weekend by Utica College, SUNY Oswego, Skidmore College and Nazareth College.

The Hamilton men have 17 players available this fall, so the Continentals have three teams entered in their own tournament this weekend. The rest of the fall schedule includes tournaments hosted by St. Lawrence University, Middlebury and Williams. The NESCAC Men's Golf Championship Qualifier is at Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield, Conn., on Sept. 29 and 30. The season concludes with an 18-hole tournament at Ekwanok Country Club in Manchester, Vt., on Oct. 9.

Second-year head coach Lauren Cupp is faced with the task of replacing four-time all-NESCAC team honoree Joe Tigani '18. Tigani, who also earned three all-region selections, was joined on the 2018 NESCAC Men's Golf All-Conference Team by Bobby Osborn '20. Osborn is participating in Hamilton's Off-Campus Study Program this fall but will be back for the spring season.

The absence of Tigani and Osborn leaves openings in the lineup for the nine first-years and one sophomore transfer who are new to the roster. Andrew Watson '19 and Ben Morgan '19 are the captains, and Jeremy Benjamin '19 returns after studying off campus last spring. Watson leads all returners with an 18-hole stroke average of 77.73 last season. He posted three top 10 finishes, including a tie for individual medalist honors at the Middlebury Spring Invitational. Benjamin (78.10) and Tigani qualified as individuals for the 2018 NESCAC championship, and Osborn (78.00) landed in the top 20 at four tournaments. Tom Graham '21 (79.22), Jason Hsieh '21, Nick Randolph '21 and Nick Schanzer '21 hope to crack the team's top five this fall as well.

The Continentals finished in the top five in the team standings in four tournaments in 2017-18, including a team title in their own invitational. Benjamin (77-76--153) was runner-up behind Tigani, Osborn (73-82--155) tied for fourth place and Watson (80-77--157) tied for eighth.