Andover Golf Smokes Exeter and GDA; Harmeling ’07 Has Low Score of 76 with 2 Eagles

On a wind swept Stow Acres North Course on Wednesday, the Phillips Academy Golf team opened the season by crushing Phillips Exeter Academy and Governor Dummer Academy in the competition for the Witherspoon Bowl and Lovell Cup with a score of 406 to Exeter’s 457 and GDA’s 437. In the competition for the Witherspoon Bowl, a two game match-play contest with Exeter, Andover sailed through the first round with an unexpected 7-0 whipping of Exeter. Evan Harmeling ’07 playing as number one set the pace by closing out his Exeter opponent 7 & 5. Captain James Watson ’06 and Nicholas Koh ’08 playing positions two and three continued the stellar play with 7 & 6 and 6 & 4 demolitions of their hapless Exeter opponents. Andover’s strong top trio had among them eight birdies and two eagles from its long drives and deft short touches around the greens to close the matches early. With this victory, all Andover needed to do was to tie one out of the next seven individual games at Exeter to successfully defend the Witherspoon Bowl. Andover’s bottom ladder of Tanner McNeill ’08, Owen Rameika ’06, Tom Tassinari ’06, Conor Sutherland ’06 and Kristen Macdonald ’07 wrapped up the match for Andover, all with comfortable wins. The Lovell Cup is a three-way challenge between Andover, Exeter and GDA determined by three 18- hole matches, with the top five scores from each team added to the cumulative tally. At the end of the season, the school with the lowest 54-hole match total is awarded the Lovell Cup. Of the top five, Harmeling had the low score with an impressive 4 over par 76 on a course defended by tight fairways and tricky pin positions. New lower Koh, eager to start his PA career with a win, came home with a respectable 79, ignoring the wind chill and a growling stomach. Captain Watson ’06 finished with an 82, number four McNeill ‘08 shot 85, and Rameika ’06 also shot 85 to create a commanding 31-stroke lead over nearest rivals GDA. Harmeling ‘07 eagled two holes with a chip-in at the first hole after a wild drive and by draining a long bomb putt on the seventh. When asked about his game, Harmeling ’07 quipped, “After the eagle chip-in on the first, my opponent was done, and I dominated for the rest of the match, never looking back to see Big Red remains littered all over the golf course.” Captain Watson ’06 offered a more mature and moderate assessment of his team as well as his own play. “I did not play my best, but I kept the pressure on my [Exeter opponent] by making crucial putts at the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth and managed to win the match early. My team did well today, and the depth created by the combination of new talent and experience separated us from GDA and Exeter.” Although only the top five scores contributed to the team’s 406 stroke total, the scores of Tassinari, Sutherland and Macdonald are equally important as they will help determine the winner of the Witherspoon Bowl. Last Saturday, Andover travelled down to the Kitannsett Country Club in Marion, MA to compete against Tabor. The match was cancelled due to a lightning warning, heavy downpour and the team’s extremely sore and painful hands. Andover was leading the match 6-2 when play was halted after four holes. After the performance, Coach Odden rewarded the team with a trip to Wendy’s for dinner, trying to motivate the team to better last year’s 15-3 record. Big Blue next plays Holderness at home on April 19.