After close call, men's golf goes for conference title in 2019-20

After close call, men's golf goes for conference title in 2019-20

After finishing runner-up at the 2019 NESCAC Men's Golf Championship, Hamilton College is out to claim the team's first conference title since 2003. Two seniors and four juniors highlight the veteran 15-man roster.

Last season the Continentals took third place in the NESCAC championship qualifier and advanced to the conference championship for the first time since 2016. Hamilton actually held a slim lead after the first round at the NESCAC championship, but was edged by four shots by nationally ranked Trinity College in the second and final round.

This season's NESCAC championship qualifier is held at Sandy Burr Country Club in suburban Boston on Sept. 28 and 29. The team that finishes first at the qualifier hosts the conference championship in late April 2020.

Jack Habeeb '22 and Bobby Osborn '20 lead the returners for the Continentals. Habeeb was voted to the 2019 all-NESCAC team after an outstanding first season and Osborn was on the all-conference squad as a sophomore in 2018.

Habeeb picked up right where he left off last spring as he was the individual runner-up at the 2019 St. Lawrence University Invitational. He finished 2-under for the tournament and carded a double eagle on the last hole of his first round when he holed out from 276 yards. Last season he averaged 75.88 strokes for 17 rounds and finished in the top 20 in every tournament except for one.

Osborn shot in the 70s in all six rounds last spring after he studied off campus during the fall. He's a team captain along with Matt Cesare '20 and Tom Graham '21.

Graham grabbed second place at last fall's championship qualifier after rounds of 73 and 69 and averaged 78.00 for 12 rounds. Sam Vogel '22 tied for second at last fall's Hamilton Invitational after he fired a 69 in his first collegiate round, and he finished second at the NESCAC championship thanks to a 70 in the final round. Vogel averaged 76.58 strokes for a dozen rounds.

Habeeb was joined at St. Lawrence by Jason Healy '22, Jack McKeon '22, Ben Coffey '23 and Brent Schoeller '21. Eight of Hamilton's 10 rounds were in the 70s last weekend. The Continentals landed in second place at last year's St. Lawrence Invitational and captured the team title at their own tournament.

In addition to the NESCAC qualifier, Hamilton's busy fall schedule includes Middlebury's Duke Nelson Invitational on Sept. 14 and 15, the Williams Fall Invitational the following weekend, and the Ekwanok Tournament in Manchester, Vt. (Oct. 8). The Duke Nelson Invitational is held at Ralph Myhre Golf Course on the Middlebury campus and always has a deep and competitive field. The shotgun start is at 1 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday.