The University of Rhode Island golf team began the season with a first-place finish in the Rhody Fall Invitational at the Newport National Golf Course this week thanks, in large part, Joe Leavitt and Billy Walthouse.

With a total team score of 892 in three rounds of golf, the Rams overtook the next best team, Bryant University, by 15 strokes. URI also improved its average performance from the last six years by 15 strokes.

Star golfer Leavitt followed his sweep of all four titles in New Hampshire this summer with another top finish, racking up 2-over par with a 218. The second-year Ram averaged just 4.7 strokes per hole in the process. Walthouse took home third-place honors finishing with 221. Leading every golfer in the tournament with 35 pars, Walthouse was just three strokes behind Leavitt and one stroke behind second-place winner sophomore Kyle Buschmann out of Bryant.

“We established our top three very clearly,” URI head coach Gregg Burke said per, “I was happy to see Joe Leavitt get his first win.”

After spending much of last season conditioning and getting more experience, the Rams look poised to have one of its best years in recent history. Despite having a team with so much potential to compete, Burke said that he is excited to see the season progress.

“It shows how much the talent has increased and how hard the guys have been working,” Burke said per GoRhody.

In addition to Leavitt and Walthouse, the Rams had solid outings from its other players to secure the win. Junior Makenzie Denver finished his first tournament at Rhode Island in fifth place with 225. Fellow classmen Nick Fairweather tied for tenth place with senior Seamus Fennelly with 233. The two had nine and seven birdies in the tournament, respectively. To round out the scoring for the Rams, senior Jared Adams had a 251 to tie for 26 as well as six birdies for himself.

With just a few days until the Rams are on the road again, the team will be expected to contend with some of the other top programs in their next tournament like the University of Hartford, the school hosting their next event.

Rhode Island will look to follow up this week’s strong performances at the Hartford Hawks Invitational, where they finished in sixth place out of 17 teams last year. The squad will be competing at the Bulls Bridge Golf Course in Kent, Connecticut, on Monday and Tuesday.