URI’s Golf team claimed first out of 13 schools in the Rolling Green Intercollegiate Tournament. Photo from gorhody.com.

In what was only their second official competitive match of the season, the University of Rhode Island Golf team beat 12 schools to solidify its first-place victory at the Rolling Green Intercollegiate in Springfield, Pennsylvania this past weekend.  

The Rams ended Saturday with a team score of 285 and were five strokes over par. Bucknell University and Monmouth University tied for second place in the tournament, trailing URI by two strokes.

Sophomore Bryson Richards and redshirt junior Brandon Gillis led the way for the Rams, both shooting even par at 70 and tying with the third best individual scores of the day. Not far behind was Rhody senior Chris Francoeur, who shot one-over par.

 Out of 18 holes, Richards hit for par on 14 of them. According to Head Coach Gregg Burke, they were led by Richards, who had “a great day” in Saturday’s tournament and had plenty of “strength behind the ball.”

“He made six, seven pars in a row to start, but he had so many great looks for birdie, and he is hitting it to the back of the cup,” Coach Burke said. “Bryson has matured so wondrously last year on the golf course. He played really good golf.”

 Even though he was four-over after eight holes, Gillis successfully turned his game around for the remaining holes, remarkably finishing the day at four-under par.

Rhody sophomore Andrew DePetrillo finished the day four-over while also dealing with back spasms that consistently troubled him throughout the week. Coach Burke said it was clear on Saturday that DePetrillo was fighting through discomfort.

“He started out great, but after seven or eight holes you could tell he was really in a lot of pain,” Coach Burke said. “The last couple two, three holes were really difficult for Andrew. He was in a lot of pain, but he got through and finished to help us win.”

According to Coach Burke, Rhody Golf has faced its fair amount of adversity this season.  Having to take a pause earlier this spring because of a COVID-19 exposure, the team has only played in two tournaments all year. In March, URI placed second out of seven schools at the Hartford Invitational in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

Coach Burke has instilled a winning mindset in the Rams that he said they have “taken to heart.”

“We are going to go to tournaments to win them because that is what URI Golf does,” he said. “We go there to win them. We do not go there to play well. We go to win. We want to find out who and what we are, and we want to find out what we need to work on along the way.”

 Next Monday, the Rams are scheduled to host the Rhode Island Invitational at the Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown.

“We are going to have a small tournament, but it is still a tournament,” Coach Burke said. “We want to win. What are we doing the rest of the year? We are going to work.”