Golf Preview: Men's, women's teams both eye competitive seasons

Captain Garret Bonney '15 is the sole junior or senior on the Bates men's golf team this season. (Sarah Crosby/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior captain Garret Bonney, the only junior or senior on the Bates men's golf team, leads the Bobcats into a promising fall 2014 season this Saturday and Sunday, at the Bowdoin Invitational.

Men's Team Outlook

Four returning players on the men's team are single-digit handicaps, in Bonney and sophomores Tom Garone (Franklin Lakes, N.J.), Brad Rutkin (Great Neck, N.Y.) and Alex Stekler (Avon, Conn.).

Rutkin heads a strong sophomore class, while Garone and Stekler also had their days leading the Bobcats' scorecards at various points last season. Rutkin teamed with the since-graduated Garrett Johnson to become Bates' first all-state duo since 2008. Rutkin capped a solid rookie season by shooting a 17-over-par 161 at the two-day NEIGA Championships.

Bates also welcomes a first-year class of players that head coach Bob Flynn says is "very promising.... I think it's a team that will certainly be as competitive, if not more so, than last year. And there's a depth there this year that we haven't had in the past." Potential single-digit handicap players who join the squad this year include Bennett Saltzman (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.), Matt Marcus (Newton, Mass.), Edmund Pierce (Winnetka, Ill.) and Bennett Rollins (North Haven, Conn.).

Highlights on the Bobcats' schedule include the Maine State Championships next weeekend at Bangor Municipal Golf Course, the NESCAC Championship Fall Qualifier in Clinton, N.Y., Sept. 28-29, and the 80th NEIGA Championships Oct. 26-27 in Brewster, Mass.

Women's Golf Outlook

The Bates women's golf team is in certain position to improve its fortunes this fall. 

Led by junior captain Jessica Plotnikov, of Brooklyn, N.Y., the Bobcats take pride in competing as a women's varsity team, one of only two in Maine along with Bowdoin -- and one of six women's squads in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. 

The captain's sister, sophomore Emily Plotnikov, topped Bates' leaderboard in the team's final three events last season, while junior Elizabeth LaVerghetta (Norton, Mass.) and sophomore Sarah Centanni (Hingham, Mass.) shared the team lead in a dual match against Bowdoin.

First-year Kelly Wassarman (Middleton, Wis.), meanwhile, could potentially top a leaderboard sooner rather than later. "We think Kelly Wassarman is a kid who can shoot in the low 80s," said Flynn. "We'll have to wait and see, but she'll definitely be a nice addition to the team."

Bates plays in four events this fall, beginning with a dual match at Bowdoin on Sept. 13-14. They'll also play at Mount Holyoke Sept. 20-21, at the Middlebury Invitational Sept. 27-28 and at the Williams Fall Classic Oct. 4-5.