The University of Rhode Island golf team took home its second first-place title of the season on Tuesday at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships, led by the swing of newcomer Makenzie Denver.
Denver, a junior who played his first golf with Rhode Island at the Rhody Fall Invitational earlier this month, finished in a tie with Fairfield University’s Richard Dowling for first place with 139 total strokes in the two-round competition.
After a first-day tally of 73, Denver followed up his performance with 66 strokes on Tuesday. The total marked a collegiate career-low round for Denver and the lowest by a URI player since Branden Chicorka had the same score at the Atlantic 10 Championship in senior year of April 2013.
“As well as Makenzie played, shooting 66 and it was truly special to watch, this was a team victory,” Rhode Island head coach Gregg Burke said per GoRhody.com.
Sophomore Billy Walthouse finished ECACs in a tie for third just five strokes out of first place with a score of 144. Walthouse’s first-round count of 70 was his best on the young season. Junior Joe Leavitt bounced back from his three-round score of 228 last week with 146 strokes this week, good enough for a fifth-place tie.
Junior Nick Fairweather earned himself a tie for 15th place with 152 strokes. Fairweather also posted his season-low round with 73 in Tuesday’s final round. In his first appearance with Rhode Island, sophomore Eric Marchetti posted 164 strokes to finish in 26th place overall.
“After the first scores were posted, we were down 13 strokes but the next three guys made up the difference,” Burke said per GoRhody.com. “To shoot 2-over for 36 holes shows how well we can play.”
Less than a month into the season, Rhode Island has now finished two of its three events with top honors for one of its golfers as well as first-place finishes overall for the team. With a very successful beginning to the new season, Coach Burke said that he feels that the team’s wins have been a direct result of group effort.
As a team, Rhode Island posted a second-round performance of 285 strokes, its lowest in almost five years. The last time the team had a lower score was 282 at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate in October 2009. URI also finished five strokes ahead of second-place Fairfield in total strokes from both rounds with 577.
The Rams will be competing next at the North Carolina State University-hosted Wolfpack Intercollegiate at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday and Tuesday.