Over the weekend, the Kenyon golf team concluded its season with a third place finish at the NCAC Championship. In the three-day tournament, hosted at the Westfield Country Club in Westfield Center, Ohio, Will Hulsey ’26 paced the Owls. He tied for fifth place in a field of 39 golfers after shooting a 222 over the three days. Wittenberg University took home the conference crown, and Denison University finished as the runner-up.
According to Hulsey, the NCAC tournament brought back familiar foes for the Owls, in addition to the chance to repeat as champions. “Westfield Country Club was a great golf club and host for this tournament, and we had a few familiar pairings with Denison and Wittenberg,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian.
On Friday, Hulsey and Armand Ouellette ’25 led Kenyon, each shooting a 75. Griffin Ward ’24 and Logan Spiess ’23 were just one stroke behind them, and Garrett Thesing ’24 rounded things out for the Owls with a 78. At the end of the day, Kenyon was in third place with an overall score of 302, five strokes behind second-place Denison.
Ward was Kenyon’s low man on Saturday, as he shot a 74 — his best single-day score of the tournament — while Hulsey, Spiess and Thesing each shot a 75. Ouellette’s 75 brought the Owls’ overall score to 299. With Kenyon’s score at 601 after two days, DePauw University threatened with a two-day score of 604.
The Owls had saved their best for last, as their Sunday score of 296 helped the team to secure third place. Hulsey shot a team-low 72 to help secure a share of fifth place and an all-NCAC first team selection. The only first-year on the roster, Hulsey believes that his performance offers hope for his future with the team. “[My results show] that I have more in me,” he said. “I have three more years here, and hopefully I can continue to help our team contend and even win in the future.”
Ward shot a 75 on Sunday to bring his three-day score to 225, earning him a tie for 10th place and a spot on the all-NCAC second team. Spiess finished just one stroke back of Ward and tied for 14th place. A member of the all-NCAC third team, Spiess was grateful to get the chance to play in a final conference championship. “It was very rewarding; I did not play well in the NCAC championship when I played during my sophomore year,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “It was nice to play better and contribute to the team.” Ouellette and Thesing shot a 227 (t-16th place) and 230 (t-24th place) overall to round out the Owls’ results.
Despite falling short of a title defense, both Hulsey and Spiess praised the team for overcoming adversity. “We graduated a lot of guys last year, so a lot of us need to step up, and in most cases, we did,” Hulsey said. For Spiess, the team’s resilience was most impressive: “I think that everyone really grinded out their rounds and did their best even when things weren’t going our way. I think our team learned that we can play in really tough conditions and still put up respectable rounds.”
As Spiess’s Kenyon career comes to a close, he believes that the team will only continue to improve. “I think this season was a great building year,” he said. “A lot of guys gained important experience that will help them to perform better next year.” With the 2022-23 season in the rearview mirror, Hulsey is turning his focus to the future. “I want to win [the] NCACs,” he said. “At about this time last year, I was mashing the refresh button on Golfstat watching the team win the NCAC Conference Championship. I want to be in that position, and I want to help my team do it.”