The University of Rhode Island golf team finished in seventh place at the Harford Hawks Invitational this week, led by the play of Makenzie Denver and Billy Walthouse, who finished tied for 24th place.
Following the first-place finish at the Rhody Invitational last week, Rhode Island was overcome by some tough competition this time around. The hosting Hartford Hawks took home top honors with 874 total strokes, 29 better than URI’s 905. With a combined 54-hole score of 225, junior Denver and sophomore Walthouse were the Rams’ best performers.
“We failed to accomplish what we wanted to,” Rhode Island head coach Gregg Burke said. “I don’t think anyone was within five or six shots of where they wanted to be or where they could have been. We went there to win it, we didn’t go to finish seventh, that is for sure.”
After winning five tournaments in a row, including a clean sweep of four titles in New Hampshire over the summer, junior Joe Leavitt fell back down to earth with a 37th place standing with 228 totaled over all three rounds.
“I have zero worries about Joe,” Burke said. “His work ethic and his unique understanding of his golf swing will get him back. He had a very tough couple of days and he will work on his putting and I have the expectation that he and at least one of our other guys will be fighting for the individual title this week at the ECACs [Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship].”
Though the Rams did not finish as high as Burke had hoped, he said he still expects his team to bounce back and be a top contender for first place every time the golfers step foot on the course. With the mindset that the “party doesn’t start until the Rams show up,” Rhode Island will expect a lot from its players, especially the top three in the rotation.
“We got better each round because we played very poorly in the first round and second round,” he said. “Our third round score of 298 was still a good 10 shots more than we should have shot, but we’re making better scores than we used to put up so that’s why we’re going back to the drawing board for this coming tournament.”
Junior Nick Fairweather and senior Seamus Fennelly rounded out the Rams’ scoring. Both finished the event in a five-way tie for 56 place and each had final tallies of 234 strokes. After a first round that included 305 strokes from the five competing for the Rams, the squad improved each and every round with 302 in the second round and 298 in the third.
Rhode Island will next compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship this Monday and Tuesday at Lyman Orchards/Robert Trent Jones Course in Middlefield, Connecticut.