DESTIN, Fla. -- The Williams College women’s golf team rebounded from a disappointing opening round to get itself back in the hunt on Wednesday at the NCAA Division III tournament on the Baytowne Course at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
The Ephs men’s team, meanwhile, couldn’t produce the rally it needed to make the cut in the men’s event, finishing with a two-day total of 638 (320-318) to tie for 28th place. The cut came at 610.
The women improved by 26 shots over Day One to tie for Wednesday’s best round with a 304 total. That vaulted the Ephs, who tied for fifth last year, from 11th place to fifth with a two-day total of 634 in the 72-hole event.
Williams was once again led by junior star Georgiana Salant, who fired a 2-over 74 to stay in contention in the individual race. The Calfornia native’s 149 total put her in fourth place behind Texas at Tyler’s Laura Lindsey (72-72--144).
While the Ephs’ second-best score in round one was an 83, sophomore Paige Whidbee (75), junior Emily Wickstrom (75) and sophomore Shelby Shope (80) improved by a combined 26 shots in round two.
Two Texas schools, Mary Hardin-Baylor and Texas at Tyler, are tied for the lead at 617. George Fox University, which tied the Ephs for the day’s low score, is third at 623 and 15-time defending champion Methodist University is next at 631.
"What a difference a change in mentality can make," said coach Erika DeSanty. "[Tuesday] we wanted it too much and tried too hard. We forgot to focus on the process and on our team goals. Today, everyone had the right approach mentally and we were determined to play well."
Even with their low scores, the Ephs weren’t immune to the water and out of bounds that lurks everywhere on the course. Wickstrom shot her 75 despite a triple bogey on the par-5 fifth hole (ball in the water) and Salant’s 74 included a triple on the par-5 13th (ball OB).
Both players handled the adversity well. Wickstrom birdied holes 9-11 and Salant finished with five consecutive pars.
Whidbee avoided the big numbers in producing the best round in her college career. Senior Becky Miller (86-87) has struggled both days, but DeSanty expects her co-captain to bounce back.
"Becky is determined and she had a good session at the range this afternoon," DeSanty said.
In order to contend for the ultimate prize, DeSanty said her players must focus on their own games, not on the teams they are chasing.
"We can’t control what the other teams are going to do," the fourth-year coach said. "We can only do our best to put ourselves in contention."
For the men, playing in its first NCAA tournament since 2008, junior Cody Semmelrock had two solid days (72-76) to make the individual cut.