By: Billy Peterson
The Springfield College golf team has its sights set on one goal this season – winning the NEWMAC Championship. Leading the Pride in their attempt to repeat as conference champions is graduate student Kyle DiFranco.
Although they have an end goal in mind, DiFranco explained that the team is still taking the season week by week, and trying to win every weekend.
Springfield opened the season back on Sept. 7th, the first day of the Trinity Invitational. DiFranco, an East Longmeadow, Mass. native, along with Adam Ziewacz, each shot a round of 77, good for tops on the team. In total, the Pride shot a 324, finishing fourth on the day, just 12 strokes off the lead.
On the second day of the Trinity Invitational, held at Tunxis Plantation Golf Course, the Pride shot their best round of the season with a total of 313 strokes. DiFranco led the charge again, shooting a 55 on the day and combined 152 for the tournament. Ziewacz, the junior from Simsbury, Conn., finished second for Springfield, shooting a combined 155 for the tournament. David Hashagen (166), Mike Nowakowski (170) and Michael Katzer (187) rounded out play for the Pride, who finished 7th out of 10 teams in the tournament.
It was a tough start to the season for Springfield, and coach Joe Eadie expressed a little disappointment in the team’s play.
“Right now we are not as good as we want to be. We lost a lot of key players from last year,” said Eadie, who is in his 21st season as Springfield’s golf coach. “To the team’s credit, the guys are doing good replacing those who graduated.”
The Pride graduated five core players last season, and are still looking for someone to step in as the No. 3 golfer on the team.
“Dave [Hashagen] has really played well stepping in as our No. 3, but we are still looking to solidify the back three spots in our lineup,” DiFranco said.
DiFranco and Ziewacz are the top shooters in the lineup, shooting first and second, respectively.
This past weekend, Sept. 14-15, Springfield competed in the Duke Nelson Invitational held at Middlebury College. The Pride, who finished 19th out of 30 teams, were again led by DiFranco, who shot a 74 on both days for a total of 148 strokes. The remaining four players who competed for Springfield were: Ziewacz (162, 79/83), Hashagen (163, 80/83), Alec Leung (176, 95/81) and Michael McAllister (186, 95, 91). Eadie spoke about the strong play from DiFranco, who finished ninth overall individually.
“Kyle is one of the best players I have coached in the last 10 years,” Eadie said. “He is a smart player and he listens to everything I have to tell him.”
“Everyone who has played has done well, so I think we will be just fine,” DiFranco added.
Springfield will next hit the links on Friday, Sept. 20, at Wedgewood Pines Country Club for the NECC Championships, and will then head to the Taconia Golf Club in Williamstown, Mass., for the Williams Invitational.