For the second time this year, a freshman on the University of Rhode Island’s golf team has won Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week. The first time it was Bobby Weise, this time it’s Chris Francoeur’s turn.
Francoeur was named A-10 Rookie of the Week after an impressive performance at the Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge. Competing against 13 other schools, including Princeton, Harvard, Cornell and Brown, Francoeur finished the first day with a 78, six over par.
The next day he responded shooting a 70, good for two under par and a 148-combined finish, the best score from URI. This score helped Francoeur finish 23 out of 85 golfers, and URI finished 7 out of 14 schools. A finish like this was no surprise to head coach Gregg Burke, however.
“The thing that impresses me the most about Chris is that he is always able to finish,” Burke said. “No matter where he hits the ball, he always finds a way to survive and finish the hole.”
Francoeur has been playing golf since he was 6 years old with his father and his grandfather at Evergreen Country Club in Newburyport, Massachusetts. It wasn’t until he was 11 years old, however, that he really started to enjoy playing golf with his friends, and started playing in more and more tournaments.
“My favorite thing about golf is it’s just you out there,” said Francoeur. “You don’t have to worry about anyone else, everything you do is in your control. It’s not like baseball where if it’s bottom of the ninth with two outs and you are not batting, there’s nothing you can do.”
In the middle of a very successful high school career at St. John’s Prep, which included two Division I state championships, coach Burke began to take an interest in him.
“I had been following Chris’s scores since he was a sophomore,” said Burke. “One day I went and watched him play, and saw how talented he was. I’d say he is probably the best pure athlete we’ve had in the golf program in the last 20 years.”
If you thought the transition from high school golf to the college level might be too much for the freshman, then you would be wrong.
“The only big difference between high school and college is just the amount of golf you play,” said Francoeur. “In high school you have one or two matches a week, and do not practice all that much. Here you are playing everyday.”
Francoeur and the Rams compete next in Beallsville, Maryland at the Georgetown Intercollegiate tournament on Monday, Oct. 16 and Tuesday, Oct. 17.