Back to the Links: Golf Teams Set to Open Season
While the men’s golf team looks to build upon a fifth-place finish in the NESCAC Championship last year, the women’s team hopes to repeat last season’s NESCAC Championship and trip to the NCAA Championships with a loaded roster of returners.
Coming off a banner year, the women’s golf team looks primed to continue reaching new heights this season. Lead by head coach Elizabeth Davis, who won NESCAC Coach of the Year and the Women’s Golf Coaches Association East Region Coach of the Year in 2021-22, the Mammoths won their first ever NESCAC Championship this past spring before finishing 12th at the NCAA Championships.
All major contributors from last year’s run are set to return, headlined by reigning NESCAC Golfer of the Year Gihoe Seo ’25. Seo won three tournaments during the fall of her inaugural season, finishing first in the Hamilton Fall Invitational, the Wesleyan Invitational, and the NESCAC Fall Qualifier. She is the first Amherst golfer to win NESCAC Golfer of the Year.
Seo’s fellow sophomore Jessica Huang ’25 also had a first year to remember. Earning NESCAC Rookie of the Year, Huang finished first in the individual portion of the NESCAC Championship before shooting 4-under par in the final round of the NCAA Championships — a showing tied for the best round of the tournament — to help propel the Mammoths to their best finish ever at the tournament in terms of total points. Huang finished 13th overall, and her total score of 296 (+8) was the best-ever finish for any Mammoth at the NCAA Championships.
Priya Bakshi ’24, Jenny Hua ’24, and Janelle Jin ’23 round out the remaining three spots from last year’s competition roster. Bakshi earned Second Team All-NESCAC honors this past season, while Hua was named to the First Team for the second consecutive season. The three have all been named team captains for the upcoming season.
The team graduated two seniors from last season’s roster, India Gaume ’22 and Mina Lee ’22, but added two new first-years to round out an already competitive squad. Adding this new first-year talent into the pipeline only makes this Mammoth team a more formidable contender this season.
“Culture is the most important value to both the men’s and women’s team, and we put a big priority on ensuring that everyone on both teams feels safe and welcome [both at] practice and off the course,” said Bakshi. “Because we have such a small team, the freshmen have an important presence, and we want to make sure they know and feel that!”
“Our season has started out great, and we’re all really excited to start tournaments next weekend,” added Bakshi.
The Mammoths will kick off their season on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Hamilton Fall Invitational in New Hartford, New York.
Going into the 2022-23 season, the men’s golf team will look to improve on last season’s fifth place finish at the 2022 NESCAC Championship.
Steven Chen ’25 returns following a remarkable debut campaign. As the 2022 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, Chen was the top finisher in five events during last year’s regular season and placed second individually at the NESCAC Championship. He also earned NESCAC First-Team honors.
The men’s team, also coached by Davis, graduated Brian Aslanian ’22 and Erik Zetterstrom ’22, their two senior captains from last season, in the spring. With no seniors on this year’s team, the vacant captain positions have been taken by juniors Ben Byman ’24 and Tommy Whitley ’24.
“We have a really good feeling about this year,” Whitley said. “We brought in three really solid first-years who will all make an impact right away, and our returners are all playing well and [are] hungry to win some tournaments this year.”
With this in mind, the team’s goals remain the same — to compete for a NESCAC Championship. But in a sport where team members compete amongst themselves for the ability to compete for the team, forming the chemistry and cohesion necessary to lift each other up during big tournaments can prove to be a challenge.
Speaking to the competitive nature of the sport, Whitley stated, “Golf is tough because we compete directly against each other … to see which five will play on the weekend, and then we immediately switch back to being a unified team as soon as qualifying ends. With that there can be tensions, but our team is always genuinely rooting for each other to play the best golf possible and, above all, wants to see the team win.”
“I love the guys we have on the team this year and wouldn’t trade our team for anything,” Whitley concluded.
The team will travel to Middlebury, Vermont, on Saturday, Sept. 10, to kick off their 2023-23 season at the Nelson Invitational.