Malcolm Oliver hadn’t played golf in at least a week – a combination of midterms at Bentley University and several days of rain. But he put together two of the best rounds of his college career last weekend to win the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association individual championship.

Oliver, from Damariscotta and Lincoln Academy, shot a 1-under 143 in the two-day tournament at the blustery Captains Golf Course in Brewster, Massachusetts. He shot a 2-under 70 on Sunday, the first day, then followed with a 1-over 73 on Monday to finish four strokes ahead of the second-place finisher, Matt Hills of Central Connecticut.

The tournament featured more than 180 golfers from all three NCAA divisions in New England. Bentley Coach Mickey Herron said the tournament is traditionally won by Division I golfers.

“To come out on top over 180 other golfers, I wasn’t expecting that,” said Oliver. “This is a pretty good feeling.”

Oliver, 20, comes from a golfing family. His father, Leon, is the head pro at the Bath Golf Course. And he learned the game while accompanying his father to work, starting when he was about 5 years old.

“I went to work with him every day,” said Oliver, who won the Maine Class B individual championship in 2012. “Practice and play.”

Herron said Oliver’s championship was forged in a disappointing second-place finish.

After winning Bentley’s first match of the season, Oliver was in the lead heading into the 35th hole of a 36-hole tournament the following week.

“He quadruple-bogeyed that hole,” said Herron. “He birdied the 36th to finish with a 70 but he finished second. We had a long chat after that and discussed many things, including how to close out a tournament, which he had been working on. In many ways this is the culmination of that work.”

Oliver, who was named Northeast-10 Conference golfer of the week, always has been a good golfer – he made the cut at this year’s Maine Amateur – but in college has improved most on his mental approach.

“My swing is the same,” said Oliver. “Coach has helped me with course management, how to work around mistakes. That’s where I’ve improved, learning how to stay out of trouble.

“I’ve learned to just take the bogey instead of trying to save par and ending up with a double-bogey.”

He needed every bit of focus last weekend. Herron called it “the toughest conditions a competitive golfer can have – a strong swirling wind from all directions.”

Oliver, an economics-finance major, carefully considered the wind direction on each hole, then adjusted his shots.

He said he started out rough but settled into a good round the first day. At one point he scored four birdies in five holes to take control. At that point, he said, “I felt if I could stay around par, the conditions were so bad I would have a chance to be at the top and win.”

Bentley also won the Division II class in the New England tournament with a combined 608. The Falcons had previously won the Northeast-10 championships – in which Oliver finished third – to clinch a spot in next May’s NCAA Division II East/Atlantic Regional.

Herron said last spring’s regionals provided a springboard for Oliver’s success this fall. Oliver finished seventh overall with a 74-71-71–216.

“That showed him he could compete,” said Herron. “Not only compete but could probably win.”

This fall, Oliver had a 73.6 stroke average in 12 rounds and one other first-place finish. But this one was special.

“The other tournament had maybe 30 golfers,” said Oliver. “It wasn’t as satisfying as this one. This one, I feel like I’ve done something.”

FIELD HOCKEY

University of Southern Maine senior forward Peyton Dostie of Standish (Bonny Eagle) was named Little East Conference offensive player of the week. She scored three goals in a 1-1 week for the Huskies, including two in a 3-1 win over Western Connecticut. She is USM’s career points leader with 132.

n University of New England freshman forward Vonde Saunders of Center Conway, New Hampshire, was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference offensive player of the week. She scored two goals in two victories for the Nor’easters, including the winner in a 3-2 victory over Endicott.

n UNE senior back Beth Sullivan of Cumberland, Rhode Island, was named the CCC defensive player of the week. She had a goal against Endicott and led a back line that allowed only 14 shots in two games.

n Bentley junior midfielder Kelsey Howard of Scarborough had two strong games. She scored the winner in a 3-1 victory over Saint Anselm, then scored in a 3-1 loss to LIU-Post.

n Wheelock College freshman goalkeeper Nicole Miranda of Westbrook was recently named the New England Collegiate Conference rookie of the week after posting her first collegiate shutout, making eight saves in a 2-0 victory over Regis.

MEN’S SOCCER

Eastern Connecticut State sophomore goalkeeper Greg Walton of Brunswick was named LEC goalkeeper of the week for the third time this season. Over three matches, Walton made 15 saves and allowed only two goals. He is 9-5-3 for the Warriors with seven shutouts, a 0.57 goals-against average and an .888 save percentage.

VOLLEYBALL

St. Joseph’s College junior Felicia Wachowiak of Milton, New Hampshire, was named Great Northeast Athletic Conference offensive player of the week. She averaged 4.17 kills, 1.83 digs and 1.33 blocks in a 2-1 week for the Monks, highlighted by a 41-kill, 12-solo blocks effort in a league tri-match with Lasell and Anna Maria.

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

Saint Anselm College freshman Shannon Conley of South Portland was recently named Northeast-10 rookie of the week after she finished fourth overall in the Northeast-10 preview meet at Franklin Pierce College. Her 6-kilometer time was 27 minutes, 5.7 seconds. She has been the Hawks’ first finisher in all five meets this fall.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

Johns Hopkins University senior back Amanda Masse of Portland (Deering High) has started all 16 games for the 14-2 Blue Jays, who are ranked seventh among NCAA Division III teams. She has two assists.

WOMEN’S TENNIS

Stonehill College junior Analise Kump of Falmouth was named most valuable player after helping the Skyhawks win the Northeast-10 championship. She clinched the title with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles. She was also a member of the No. 2 doubles team that earned an 8-4 victory.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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