Richard Lord: Williams women's golf hires coach
Williams College's nationwide search for a women's golf coach turned out to have an international flavor to it as well.
The school has hired Tomas Adalsteinsson, a native of Iceland, who has served as the men's and women's golf coach at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., since 2012.
Given its chilly name and geographical position — 67.08 north latitude (Pittsfield is at 42.4501) — Iceland might seem to be an unusual environment for a golf coach to grow up in. But, apparently, while the golf season is short (May to September), Iceland is a golf-crazed country.
According to Golf Digest, there are more golf courses per captia there than in any country in the world — 65 courses for an island nation with 321,000 inhabitants. The courses are even open 24 hours a day in June and July given that the sun never sets.
Adalsteinsson, who graduated from the University of Iceland in 2007 and earned a master's degree in Sports Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, Calif., in 2011, has a strong background as a player and coach in golf and soccer.
He competed internationally as a member of the Icelandic national golf team and also has a UEFA B soccer coaching license. Before going to coach at Macalester, he coached women's soccer at Carleton College. He has also worked with professional golfers on their mental game, serving as a sport psychology consultant.
"The search committee was impressed by coach Adalsteinsson's broad range of athletic experience and his strong golf background," Williams College Athletic Director Lisa Melendy said in a statement. "His background in sport psychology will bring another dimension to our faculty."
Adalsteinsson replaces Bill Kangas who did a tremendous job the past two seasons as the interim coach after replacing Erika DeSanty, who left following the 2014 season to become the head women's golf coach at Princeton University.
Kangas, who is also the Ephs' men's ice hockey coach, led the Williams women to the NCAA Division III national championship in 2015 and to a fifth-place NCAA finish in the just-completed 2016 national tournament.
"I want to also extend my gratitude to Bill Kangas who took on the role of interim head coach with enthusiasm and deep caring for the team and the program," Melendy said. "He has guided the team well through this time of transition, and I know the players hold him in great respect and affection."
Adalsteinsson will inherit a team that should once again be one of the nation's top Division III squads. None of the five golfers who competed in the national tournament in Texas were seniors.
"First of all, I want to thank Lisa Melendy and the members of the search committee for this incredible opportunity," Adalsteinsson said in a statement. "Through this process, I have been greatly impressed by the people in the Williams community, and I am excited to be joining a college with such rich history of academic and athletic excellence. ... I look forward to starting to work with the exceptional student-athletes of Williams women's golf to build on the tradition of success they have created."
Wyckoff Country Club member Michael Mertes shot an even-par 71 to win the Championship Division in Friday's Stockbridge Classic at Stockbridge Golf Club by one shot over Longmeadow Country Club's Jack Dombek.
Matt Scarafoni (Country Club of Pittsfield) and Matt Kennan (Greenock Country Club) were the top finishers among the Berkshire County players with rounds of 5-over 76. They tied for sixth place.
Former Massachusetts Senior Player of the Year Bob Linn (Berkshire Hills Country Club) shot a 2-over 73 to tie for Senior Division honors with Connecticut golfer Ray Underwood (Torrington Country Club). Torrington CC golfers finished 1-2 in the Legends Division with Bud Pepin firing a 75 and Dick Weigold a 76.
The tournament action at the historic club will continue on Saturday and Sunday with the Stockbridge Trophy, a 36-hole best-balll event.
Club members Chris Shields and Randy Driscoll are the defending champions but they will be challenged by a field that features a number of strong teams.
The Northeast New York PGA's Stroke Play Championship will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday at Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown.
There is little doubt that Scott Berliner will be the golfer to beat will be when the section's top professionals tee it up at the Williamstown layout in the 36-hole event. The Hiland Park (N.Y.) Golf Club professional is the five-time defending champion.
Berliner is off to another strong start this season, capturing the first section tournament with an even-par 70 at Wyantenuck Country Club. He then lost in a playoff to Ian Breen, of Colonie (N.Y.) Golf and Country Club, in the second event at the Saratoga Polo and Golf Club. Berliner and Breen both shot 3-under 67.
Host head professional Josh Hillman, Eric Mabee (CC of Pittsfield), David Strawn (Egremont Country Club), Steve Mazzariello (Stockbridge GC), Tom Sullivan (Wyantenuck CC), Chris Polidoro (Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort) and Peter Egarzian (Taconic GC), will represent Berkshire County in one of the section's two biggest events.
Hillman is a past champion, winning in 2008, and is capable of being in the title chase, especially on his home course.
Mabee, in his second year as the head professional at the CC of Pittsfield, has an impressive tournament resume that suggests he could be a threat to Berliner's domination. He qualified for the PGA National Club Pro Championship in 2014 and narrowly missed repeating the feat last summer, finishing in a tie for second behind Berliner in the NENY PGA Section Championship. He lost in a playoff to Breen for the second of two qualifying spots for the national tournament.
Taconic GC member Dylan Dethier missed qualifying for the Massachusetts Open by three shots in a qualifier at The Ranch Golf Club in Southwick on Thursday.
The former Mount Greylock High School and Williams College golfer shot a 2-over 74 to tie for 20th place.
Former Worthington Golf Club member James Patterson, now a member of Tekoa Country Club, posted a 76. Wyantenuck Country Club head professional Tom Sullivan withdrew from the tournament.
The Mass. Open will be played at Worcester Country Club in June.
To contact Richard Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 413 281-2226.
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