STANDISH, ME - The Saint Joseph's golf team posted respectable results across the board under the watch of eighth-year Head Coach Jamie Smyth '92 last fall.
The Monks hosted the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship, for the first time in six years as a member of the league, at Gorham Country Club in early October. With a sixth-place finish, the Royal Blue did not place as well as team had hoped, but the SJC quintet managed to cut a whopping 56 strokes off their 2010 score with a 632 team card - the lowest score ever posted by a Saint Joseph's squad an 18-hole GNAC Championship.
Sophomore linker Kevin Richardson (Coventry, Conn.) continued to lead Saint Joseph's in his second collegiate season with average scores of 77.5 and 161.3 in 18-hole and 36-hole events, respectively. Richardson, the 2010 GNAC Rookie of the Year, notched his first college medalist honor after tallying a 76 in the season-opener versus University of Southern Maine on September 1st and went on to post three additional top-10 finishes last fall.
But Richardson was not the only SJC golfer to fare well during the 2011 season as six different linkers combined to record 20 sub-80 rounds last year. Junior Jake Brown (Lewiston, Maine) showed considerable improvement during his second NCAA season, as the second-year golfer cut numerous strokes off his 18-hole 36-hole averages, dropping down to 80.7 and 162.0, respectively, in 2011.
Freshman Steve Simonds (Steep Falls, Maine) appeared in four events as a rookie and showed promise of things to come, averaging an 82.0 in 18-hole events and a 161.0 in 36-hole competitions. For his efforts, Simonds was named as the GNAC Rookie of the Week on September 19th and claimed the team's Most Improved Player honor following the completion of the season.
St. Joe's closed out the season with an appearance in the 2011 New England Intercollegiate Golf Association (NEIGA) Championship in Brewster, Massachusetts on October 17th and 18th. The Monks finished the two-day event with a 667 team card and placed 30th overall in the regional competition. The 2011 team score ranks as the lowest since the team recorded a 663 card in the 2007 NEIGA's and was a 24-stroke improvement over the 2010 mark.
The completion of the NEIGA Championship signaled the end of NCAA golf for the Monks' three seniors: Walton, Garske and Kyle Bennett (Yarmouth, Maine). The trio combined to play in 35 events with four top-10 finishes over the past three seasons.