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Golf Preview: Bevy of talent returns for fall 2009 season

Mimi Neal '12 will figure significantly in the women's golf squad's fortunes in 2009.

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College coed golf team has the great bulk of its talent returning from a memorable fall 2008 season, and good numbers of both male and female players as well, all of which is cause for some pretty positive projections for the Bobcats.

In 2008 the men's golf squad, already flush with some excellent players such as senior Kurt Schuler (Windham, N.H.) and junior Mike Kelen (Baltimore, Md.), added another standout in sophomore Lee Smith (Lexington, Mass.), while junior John Canney (North Clarendon, Vt.) also posted some impressive results. Four first-year players also join the team in 2009, some of whom 12th-year head coach Bob Flynn believes will contribute top-four scores at some point: Adam Buchbinder (Waban, Mass.), Corey Gingras (Eastford, Conn.), Jared Quenzel (West Hartford, Conn.) and Jonathan Smith (Lakeland, Fla.).

Smith, the 2008 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, is the third Bates golfer to receive NESCAC All-Conference honors in the past decade, after Dominic Lee '04 in 2003 and Jake Cox '08 in 2005, but he is the first Bobcat to receive First Team honors.

Smith and Kelen also captured All-State honors for their performances at the Maine Intercollegiate Golf Championships, both finishing among the top 10.

The women's team graduated a valuable player in former captain Liz Wilcox, but senior Whitney Roller (Haverford, Pa.) returns after studying in the Junior Year Abroad program in 2008. Roller, who medaled in three women's tournaments in 2007, will serve as team captain this season.

She'll be joined by some more impressive talent. Sophomore Mimi Neal (Danvers, Mass.) posted an outstanding season as a first-year. Among Neal's season highlights, she led the Bobcat women's golfers with an 86, earning medalist honors, as Bates dominated the Polar Bears by a 374-431 score in the CBB Championship. Junior Libby King (South Portland, Maine) was second for Bates and third overall with a 94, while sophomore Brigid Dunn (Milford, Ohio) shot a 98. Junior Christine McCall (Lowell, Mass.) has also posted some strong outings.

Two sophomore students are joining the women's team as rookies, Tessa Pals (Wilmette, Ill.) and softball standout Monica Berube (Plaistow, N.H.). The team also adds a promising first-year in Alison Bragg (Darien, Conn.).

Despite its many successes in 2008, the Bobcat women's golfers will take aim at improving its fourth-place standing out of the four teams that compete in the NESCAC Women's Golf Qualifier.