After a successful fall season, the men’s golf team jumped 78 spots in the Division III national rankings to a program-best 87th. The ranking comes on the heels of an impressive run of performances, including a sixth place finish at the Duke Nelson Invitational at Middlebury College and a fourth place finish at the team’s home Bowdoin Invitational.
Players in the program attribute their improved ranking to their new coaching staff and a shift in attitude.
“I think a lot of our current success is owed to [Head Coach Jay Durfee] and the recruiting he has done in the past couple of years. Other than that, I think there was a really conscious effort to practice a lot harder and make ourselves a well-respected and better program this year,” captain Liam Jachetta ’24 said.
The team’s success is also owed in large part to the addition of two first-year golfers. Jack Barned ’26 and George Fahey ’26 have started every weekend as part of the young Polar Bear roster with only three upperclassmen. Barned and Fahey have shown few signs of inexperience as they have rocketed up leaderboards with low scores.
At the Bowdoin Invitational on September 24 and 25, the team found itself leading after the first day with a combined score of 307. Even though they ended up falling to fourth place, the tournament still marked an important milestone for the group. It was the program’s best showing at the invitational since 2014.
“I would definitely say that walking in after finishing that first day at the Bowdoin Invitational was really something special,” Ben Secor ’25 said. “It proved to the rest of the guys that we could beat every team out there. That was not something that we’ve felt in a while.”
Even after a historic fall season, the team recognizes there is still work to be done.
“As a team, we had hoped to win one or two of the tournaments we played in, but we didn’t win any this fall, which was definitely a little bit disappointing because we came very close,” Secor said.
On October 15 and 16, the team competed in the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championship, which marked the end of its fall season. The Polar Bears placed eighth out of 23 competing teams.
Barned and Fahey led the way for Bowdoin, tying for 23rd overall with matching scores of 150. The team has now shifted its focus to the offseason, which includes a spring break training trip to Florida.
“We all know what we need to work on,” captain Favian Busnawi ’23 said. “We are going to keep up with the mindset of trying to be one percent better every single day, and we will keep fighting on.”
Although the spring tournament schedule is smaller than that of the fall, the NESCAC tournament at Bates College in late April will be the team’s most important competition of the year. Although the Polar Bears are not projected to be favorites, their eyes are still set on bringing home some hardware.
“As good as the fall season was, we didn’t rack up a win,” Jachetta said. “We had a couple of top-five finishes, but I think the common goal for everyone is to have a team win. If individividual wins come with it, that’s just a bonus. Everyone just really wants that team success come this spring.”