Men’s Golf Secures First CBB Tournament Victory Since 2018

Nichol Weylman-Farwell, Executive Managing Editor

Men’s golf won the annual CBB tournament at their home course on Oct. 1 for the first time since 2018. With a score of 317, they outstroked Bowdoin and Colby, with junior Paul Detre earning a share of the individual lead. According to head coach Brendon Croteau, this event was the “most important one of the year so far.”

“We’ve been talking about this since the beginning of the year, knowing that we get to host it on our own course, knowing that it’s Parents Weekend, and we had probably about 14 parents at the event,” he said. “Almost the entire team’s parents were there and were at the home course and having all those factors gave us that motivation to go out there and win.”

Even though the Bobcats only competed against two other teams, Croteau said that the team still knew it would be a challenge to win. Bowdoin have “outperformed [them] all year,” according to Croteau, and while Bates have outranked Colby in all events this season, the Mules are ‘a good golf team too,’” he said.

In spite of this, the Bobcats lived up to the pressure and defended their home course.

“The team performed perfectly. I mean, you know, they took the pressure really well, and just executed and played really well,” Croteau explained. “I told them going into it, I said, you know, ‘just go out there and just worry about your own group,’ because everybody always thinks and worries too much about all the other players.”

Croteau, who joined the golf staff as an assistant coach months after graduating from University of Southern Maine in 2020 and was promoted to head coach prior to the 2021 season, has been impressed with the growth of his golfers both this season and the last.

“So really, last year I was telling [the class of 2024 golfers], I was like, this is really your inaugural season. And this is kind of your freshman year. So you know, don’t be too hard on yourself, blah,” Croteau said. “And this year, you can see a lot of growth, because, you know, one full year of experience just puts you that much more ahead.”

Croteau admitted that the road to CBB victory wasn’t without its bumps. The team competed at the 38th Annual Duke Nelson Invitational at Middlebury College for their first meet of the season, where they finished 22nd out of the 24 competing teams, ahead of Colby but streets behind Bowdoin.

“It can be intimidating because a couple of these teams are way out of our league. Both Babson and RPI are one of the top, nationally ranked D3 schools in the country, which is pretty impressive,” he said. “They all know that on the team. So there’s that intimidation factor going into it.”

According to Detre, this unfortunate result was instrumental in creating a winning mentality amongst the ‘Cats.

“I think that’s necessary,” he explained. “You know, I think, in the end, we’re playing to win the CBB and play well at NESCACs, so we need to make sure everyone on the team is comfortable playing under that kind of pressure.” 

Captain Patrick Bergin ‘23, corroborated Detre’s assessment, and stated that the team wanted to bring a positive mindset into each match and hole. The night before the CBB tournament, he told the team to keep that perspective in mind.

“I tried stressing the team the night before the CBB like, you know whether or not you have a putt for 76 to finish a round, or you got a putt for 89 to finish a round, just make sure you make that putt because you know that one shot matters,” he said.

Bergin recalled losing the CBB tournament by one shot in 2019, his freshman year.

“It’s really about having everyone stay focused and you know, maybe we’re hitting a rough patch now but I’m confident in the work that we put in and our abilities as golfers, so if we really just put in our best effort day-in and day-out we’re gonna get good results,” he explained.

That mentality was not lost on Detre, who finished with a team-high 76 and sunk a crucial birdie on the 17th hole to seal the victory.

“I think we all knew how important it was, you know, it’s one of those events where you beat your group and you’ve done your job,” he explained. “You know, that’s really all it is, if you beat the other two guys, and everyone does it, you know, the team’s gonna win. So that’s pretty much the only mindset you can come into the round with.”

On the 17th hole, Detre zeroed in his focus and did his job.

“I saw three guys come up short [on the green]. I just figured that it was getting a little colder later in the day and that hole was playing longer, so I swung as hard as I could at the eight iron,” he stated. “I knew I had to get it up a little bit. And, you know, it turns out it was the perfect number.”

With that conclusion to the competitive part of the fall season (the Bobcats play a “friendly” tournament on Cape Cod later this month), the team is satisfied with their growth and success but also realize that they need to stay focused and “do their job” if they want to compete in their challenging spring schedule. Bergin said that they have their eyes on the NESCAC playoffs, which take place in April.

“If we’re able to take down a great team like Bowdoin out there, I think we have a good chance of taking down a lot of great teams during NESCACs. So it’s about just staying focused over the winter and doing our job day in and day out,” he said.