The University of Rhode Island Golf Team began their 2016 campaign in spectacular fashion, winning their season opening tournament with three consecutive under par outings. This win marks the third year in a row that URI won its first tournament of the year.
Over the course of the three day tournament, URI shot -6 par, -8 par, and -1 par, respectively. They were the only team to finish under par every day of the tournament, and their team total of -8 par was the best single day score in the tournament.
Head coach Gregg Burke, entering his sixth season at the helm, spoke at length about this weekend’s success.
“The purpose was to win, it wasn’t to go play well,” Burke said. “We did everything we needed to do. We came here to win, and we did our job.”
Coach Burke was also quick to point out the success of sophomore Dawson Jones, who had the second lowest individual score from the weekend with an -8 par.
“It was a great score,” Burke said. “He hits it longer than anyone on the team, and he’s probably the only guy who can truly overpower the golf course.”
While Dawson’s performance was outstanding, the rest of the team was not far behind. Senior captain Billy Walthouse finished third overall in the tournament, shooting only one stroke behind Dawson at 203.
“I’ve told everybody, this was a depth win,” Burke said. “When you have Jason [Short] at number four who can go [under par], and did it, and you have someone like Eric [Marchetti], who’s going to be between one or two under and two or three over, the number one and two guys can play their own game. We sort of unleashed them to do so.”
Despite the win, the road ahead is only going to get tougher.
“We need to be thinking about the first swing on the first day, and nothing else,” Burke said. ”We’re playing a better field.”
The field next week includes two teams that URI beat last weekend (UConn and Seton Hill) as well as Bryant University, who is coming off a tournament win of their own, among others.
“We can’t celebrate anything,” Burke said. “We need to go about what we’re doing. My message to the guys this week is hit it, and find it. We can’t go there and say ‘What’s the number it takes to win?’ We just have to get to the first tee, hit it, find it, and then hit it again.”
URI will be in action at the two-day Hartford Hawks Invitational, beginning on Sept. 19 at the Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in Kent, Connecticut.