After only a single week of play, the men's golf team faces a busy and critical weekend of competition.
The team heads to Boothbay Golf Course for the Maine State Tournament on Friday and Saturday, before returning home on Sunday for the annual Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Championship at the Brunswick Golf Club.
"We've got a full weekend ahead," said head coach Tomas Fortson. "We're playing teams from Maine for the most part over the next four days, including the state championships. We have a decent ranking among the teams in Maine, and we should be pretty competitive."
The Polar Bears finished second out of eight teams in heartbreaking fashion at the Farmington Invitational on Thursday.
Both Bowdoin and Husson shot 320 for the match, but Husson won the tiebreaker.
Max Bridges '11 shot the lowest score on the team last weekend with a 76 and was one shot off of first place for the tournament. Senior Turner Kufe and first year Bobby Kaminski both shot 79s and tied for fifth place.
The team struggled in its first weekend as host of the Bowdoin Invitational, placing fifth out of nine teams.
Williams College took first place by winning a tiebreaker over Husson College. Bridges again led the Polar Bears, shooting a combined score of 160 over the two-day tournament.
Despite the average results from its first weekend, the team has reason to be optimistic about the season. With nine returning seniors on a squad of 17, the team has the experience and ability necessary for success.
"It's [a] large squad and we are very happy with the group," said Fortson. "Competition within the group should bring out the best from a couple players that will take the final step to solidify our top five."
"In competition, it is about whether or not you can play your best when it matters," Fortson added. "We have the talent and depth to be competitive."
The women's golf team is also on the road this weekend, traveling to the Wilson Lake Country Club in Wilton, Maine, for the University of Maine-Farmington Invitational. The tournament will get underway at 10 a.m.
The women's team is hoping to build off its winning performance at last weekend's season opener, the Bowdoin Blast tournament.
Led by sophomore Chelsea Gross' score of 84, which earned her a tournament medal, the team defeated the rival Bobcats by 10 strokes.
"Chelsea really delivered and demonstrated a lot of grit in that match," said captain Molly Nestor '11. "She and the number two from Bates were neck-and-neck the entire time, but Chelsea just put it into overdrive."
"It was quite possibly the most competitive match that I've been in," said Gross. "It was a very long, intense, but ultimately satisfying, round."
The team benefited from the solid play of new arrivals as well. First years Taylor Guiffre (97) and Emily Quirk (103), playing in their first match as Polar Bears, and placed fourth and eighth in the match, respectively.
The victory over Bates was one of several firsts. Not only was it the first win over the Bobcats in the history of the women's golf program, but it was also the debut for head coach Gerry Coran. A former golf instructor at Highland Green Golf Club in Topsham, Coran was named to the head coaching position in August.
"Gerry stepped up the team to a much more competitive level than last year," said Gross. "The goal for this year when we got Gerry as a coach was to step up and take on any NESCAC team, and this tournament against Bates was the first step to taking on bigger competition."
"He's a really great teacher and someone who knows the game inside and out," added Nestor. "We have definitely seen the program go up a level."