The University of Rhode Island men’s golf team has had a productive fall season, finishing in the top ten in each of their five tournaments, placing first out of 13 at The Doc Gimmler, and first out of 15 at The Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge.
Part of the team’s early success is due to newly added graduate student Chris Houston, who played four seasons of undergraduate golf at Penn State University, and has now brought with him prowess and leadership to URI.
Houston has benefited from playing at a top program, and has transitioned smoothly as he leaves one close-knitted group and joins another.
“I had a lot of great inter squad competition at Penn State qualifying for tournaments, which really helped me learn about myself and improve as a golfer,” Houston said. “We had a close team at Penn State so I have tried to bring a lot of that same dynamic to URI.”
During Houston’s time at Penn State, he was named a four-time Big Ten All Academic selection, and a two-time Ping All-Northeast Region Team honoree. Houston was also part of the No.11 nationally ranked Penn State team of 2015 by Golfstat.
A native of Gilford, New Hampshire, Houston comes to Rhode Island to pursue his Masters of Business Administration, while also playing closer to his home state.
“My first season here has been pretty good, we have had a couple pretty darn good tournaments,” Houston said. “I think there is still a lot that we can improve on. We are a fairly young team and we need to continue getting the younger guys adapted to the college game.”
In his five events and thirteen rounds played as a Ram, Houston has averaged a score of 70.8 on 920 strokes with his lowest score being 66. He is the only golfer on the team who has a first-place finish this season, which he earned by landing first out of 84 competitors at the Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge where he finished –4 par.
Head coach Gregg Burke is excited about his team this season as the addition of Houston improves an already talented roster including senior captain Billy Walthouse and sophomore Dawson Jones.
“Well obviously he is a very strong number two for us,” Burke said. “He’s a guy that can win tournaments, and a guy that can shoot red numbers every time out. He has made us better in our preparation for tournaments and we are playing as well as we are in part to Chris’ contributions.”
Houston helps Burke and the Rams move one step closer to taking that next step as a program. He has not only helped URI succeed in tournaments and improve in practices, but his role as a teammate has been integral to the flow of the season.
“This is the best team chemistry we have had in my six years as head coach,” Burke said. “The guys all get along, they pull for each other, and they are selfless. They just want to help us win as a team. It’s remarkable chemistry.”
The team will begin their spring season on March 19-20 when they compete at the University of North Carolina Wilmington Seahawk Intercollegiate tournament.
“Our expectations are high facing some pretty decent fields during the spring season,” Houston said. “It’s tough because coming out of the northeast you are going to be a bit rusty, but we have to try and minimize that. We really want to come out and be competitive all spring if we really want to win an A-10 championship and make a postseason run.”