After a months-long layover, the men’s golf team finally resumed play with the Wildcat Spring Invitational on April 13, playing on the difficult course at Cranston Country Club in Cranston, Rhode Island. The field consisted of 20 teams from in and around New England, with Amherst matching up against NESCAC rival Tufts, among others.
The tournament was held over two consecutive days, with each day seeing multiple Mammoths impress in both an individual and team capacity. Leading the charge for the Mammoths was Cole Vissicchio ’20, who led the individual tournament by two strokes after an opening round score of 71, good enough for even par. Vissicchio was the only golfer on the day to card a score at or below par.
Each of the Mammoths following him also carded impressive performances on the day, with Jack Burlison ’19 and Nicholas Kumamoto ’20 both turning in impressive first-round scores of 75 that landed them squarely in the top 10. Will Lonquist ’20 also impressed on the first day, clinching a spot in the top 15 with a round of 76.
Every Mammoth finished in the top half of the tournament after the first day, and the Mammoths as a team sat in first place at the break, leading by four strokes over hosts Johnson and Wales University and Providence College. Johnson & Wales was the only other school competing at the tournament that managed to place three golfers inside the top 10 after the first day of play.
The second day saw more strong play from the Amherst golfers, with Vissicchio again carding the best score on the day for the Mammoths with a second-round score of 72. Vissicchio’s combined score of 143 was good enough for first place overall in the tournament, with the Mammoth leading the field by only a single stroke over Gavin Dugas from Husson University. Dugas, tied for eighth entering the second round, carded a spectacular score of 69, the best score of the tournament and the only single round to break par in all of the 206 rounds played on the course over the weekend. However, this was not enough to overcome Vissicchio’s remarkably consistent play, as Vissicchio held off this late charge to win the tournament.
In the team competition, a particular high note for the Mammoths was the comeback performance of Erik Zetterstrom ’22. After a first-round score of 80 that saw him sitting tied for 46th place, Zetterstrom roared back to form in the second round, keeping pace with Vissicchio and recording a spectacular score of 72 on the day. Zetterstrom would finish tied for eighth place, an improvement of 33 positions from the first day.
Zetterstrom and Vissicchio’s second rounds would come in handy for the Mammoths, as each of the three other golfers who finished inside the top 15 the day before would see their scores increase.
However, Amherst had built such a commanding lead in the first day which, coupled with Zetterstrom’s excellent second round, propelled the Mammoths to a comfortable four-stroke victory over Providence. The Mammoths finished with a total of 596 strokes, while Providence finished with 600. Johnson & Wales, which had started the day tied for second place, finished five strokes behind Providence and nine strokes behind Amherst with a total of 605 strokes. Tufts would finish in a distant seventh.
Amherst will return to action this weekend when the team travels to Williams for the Williams Spring Opener. The Mammoths will conclude their spring campaign by hosting the Little Three Championships the following Wednesday, as the team was unable to qualify for the NESCAC championships during the fall season.