After a few close calls, the Rhode Island golf team is bringing home a trophy from Philadelphia after winning Villanova’s Wildcat Fall Invitational.
The Rams finished the tournament with a two-day and three-round total of seven-under 845 at the White Manor Country Club, a par 71, 6,717 yard course. The margin of victory was five strokes, as the Appalachian State Mountaineers ended with a two-under 850 after the third round on Tuesday. First and second place were the only two teams to finish under par, as the next closest was Boston College at two-over 854. Teams also included Georgetown, Delaware, St. John’s and host Villanova. The Rams were able to increase the lead they had after strong first and second rounds, holding steady with a three-shot cushion after Monday.
Rhody was lead by junior Chris Francoeur, who shot a final round of 67 to finish at seven-under 206 and second place overall. Sophomore Brandon Gillis came in one shot behind his teammate at six-under, shooting a 207, placing him third among a field of 75 golfers. Low scores from sophomore Austin Fox and junior Jordan Brajcich were the difference, as they shot a plus-three 216 and twelve-over 225 respectively.
“This win has been coming all season,” said Head Coach Gregg Burke. “Getting solid fourth scores and both Austin and Jordan stepping up in the final round when Bryson wasn’t playing well brought us home.”
Freshman Bryson Richards finished with a hard fought three-over 216, which was good enough for a tie at 13th overall. Senior Jason Short, who competed as an individual, tied for 41st place after shooting a twenty-over 233.
According to Coach Burke, the leadership of the upperclassmen, Francoeur and Short, has been crucial in the development and confidence of the younger guys on the team.
“Jason is the consummate leader and captain behind the scenes,” Burke said. “He is the best captain we’ve had in that regard. But I told Christopher this summer that this was his team and he had to lead by example every time we put a tee in the ground.”
Up next for the URI golf team is a well deserved off week.
“We have been away 13 of the past 26 days,” Burke said. “We’ve played four tournaments. It is a time to rest and make academics a priority. We are not where we should be given the talent and hard work but this is a process. One thing we know right now is that we are incredibly strong at the top and beginning to get good play from the four and five spots.”
Rhode Island will hope to continue their stellar golf on Oct. 14 and 15 at the Georgetown Intercollegiate in Beallsville, Maryland.