COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's golf team was selected eighth in the Northeast-10 Conference's pre-championship poll, which was released by the league office today and chosen by the member institutions' head coaches. The Purple Knights received 26 points, falling eight shy of seventh-place The College of Saint Rose.
Defending champion Bentley University led the 10-squad poll with 72 points. The two-day NE10 Championship begins on Sunday at En-Joie Golf Course in Endicott, N.Y. Saint Michael's finished seventh in last year's meet, shooting 609 to come within two strokes of fifth place. The Purple Knights had a historic tournament, with their lowest final score in 22 36-hole NE10 Championships as well as the two lowest rounds at the meet (304, 305) since joining the league in 1987-88.
Saint Michael's has turned in strong team finishes this fall, often besting squads chosen higher in the NE10 poll. During the Franklin Pierce University Fall Invitational on Sept. 9-10, the Purple and Gold took seventh in an 11-program field that included five 2018 NCAA Championship qualifiers. The Purple Knights shot 624 to edge Saint Rose by one stroke.
At Southern New Hampshire University's Penmen Fall Invitational on Sept. 17-18, Saint Michael's was amid seven qualifiers for last year's NCAA meet, among them Le Moyne College and non-conference foe Post University, both of which the Purple Knights tied for eighth out of 13 schools. Le Moyne is third in the coaches' poll. The Purple and Gold fired 597 strokes, its fewest at a meet since at least the mid-1990s, which was 13 less than Saint Anselm College, the sixth-ranked team in the pre-meet rankings. Saint Michael's trailed Assumption College, chosen for fifth, by nine shots.
Six regulars have made an impact on the Purple Knight lineup this fall, led by junior Matt Johnson (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional), whose 74.6-stroke average leads the team. He has cracked 80 four times, shooting 73 or better during his last three rounds, which included tying for sixth place at the Penmen Fall Invitational. First-year Owen O'Malley (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) has shot no worse than 78 in all five rounds this year while averaging 76.2 shots, and sophomore lefty Connor Morse (Westford, Mass./Kimball Union Academy) shoots an even 79.0.
Three seniors have appeared at multiple events. David Boardman (Pelham, N.H./Pelham), at 79.1, had his best career tournament and round scores during the Southern New Hampshire meet, while Tucker Buteau (Gorham, Maine/Tilton School) has shot between 78 and 82 in all five rounds en route to an 80.6. Colin Gaunt (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) averaged 81.0 during three rounds thus far.