Individual first-place finish highlights fourth-place team performance for golf

Fourth-year Bryson Richards was URI’s only medalist on Sunday, shooting a 3-under 68 in the final round to finish top of the 75-player field. PHOTO CREDIT:

After spending the beginning of the week at Villanova’s Wildcat Spring Invitational, the University of Rhode Island golf team traveled back to the Keystone State to compete in the Rutherford Intercollegiate, hosted by Pennsylvania State University.

The tournament took place at Penn State’s Blue Course, and saw competition such as Georgetown University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Connecticut and fellow Atlantic 10 member George Mason University.

Rhode Island opened up the first day of competition with a final tally of 290. They sat eight shots behind the leader, Penn State, who finished with a 282.

Rhode Island’s first day was headlined by a one-under 70 from fifth-year Brandon Gillis, his lowest score of the weekend. Fourth-year Bryson Richards also was a key contributor, an even-par 71 kept him near the top of the leaderboard as well.

Below those top-two scores, third-year Geronimo Narizzano’s two-over 73, first-year Aidan O’Donovan’s three-over 74, second-year Chuck Tragesser and fourth-year Andrew DiPetrillio’s four-over 75s served as complementary performances to Rhode Island’s standing in fifth place after the first 18 holes.

The second day was a tournament-best for the Rams. A field second-best 284 for the day was only behind Towson by one stroke.

Richards’ second day was an outing that was ahead of all but one golfer in the entire field. His three-under 68 was accompanied by a two-under 69 performance from Narizzano.

Also competing for Rhody was an even-par 71 from Gillis, a one-over 72 from O’Donovan, a two-over 73 from DiPetrillio and a four-over 76 from Tragesser that kept Rhode Island in contention for a late push for a podium spot on Sunday.

Sunday displayed more of the same for Richards. A second straight three-under 68 placed him for a tied six-under at the top of the leaderboard, his first victory of the season. 

URI head coach Gregg Burke thought that Richards’ victory was not only an individual success, but one that stretched to the team as a whole.

“Obviously Bryson winning in a big time tournament was huge for him and for the team and quite honestly for the program,” Burke said. “Rutherford [Intercollegiate] is one of the oldest tournaments in the country. [Bryson] beat six or seven Penn State kids, on their own golf course, and he beat them pretty good.”

Burke went on to praise Richards’ play not only this past weekend, but the entire Spring 2023 semester as a whole.

“It’s not really a surprise, this has been coming all year for [Bryson], all semester I should say,” Burke said. “It’s his fifth tournament, the worst he’s done is seventh… so he’s really playing very very good golf right now.”

Richards had some thoughts of his own for his first victory of the season, especially when the momentum of the victory sent him straight in the Atlantic10 championships in two weeks.

“I’ve had a really solid semester so far, to kind of put the cap on it right before A-10’s is a nice boost,” Richards said. “I think it was a nice boost for the team as well. Obviously it was a fun van ride back and as a group we played pretty well too.”

Richards’ victory was joined by several other performances leading to Rhode Island’s tied-fourth finish for the weekend. Tragesser’s one-under 70, Gillis’ two-over 73, Narizzano and DiPettrilo’s five-over 76 and O’Donovan’s six-over 77 all contributed to Rhody’s final day tally of 287.

The team now receives a week off, one where Burke wants to see his athletes relax and get ready for the most important tournament of the year.

“The immediate gameplan is to rest, mentally, physically, emotionally,” Burke said. “We’ve played a lot of golf in the last three weeks.”

Richards spoke for the team ahead of their appearance in Florida, preaching confidence for the entire group.

“We feel great,” Richards said. “This is a nice week for us, we’re just excited to get down there. It’s a course that most of us have seen before and it’s in Florida, who doesn’t like going down to Florida? So again, [we’re] just trying to take it day by day this week but everyone is pretty jacked up to get down there.”

The Rams will return to the tee box when they take on the Reunion Resort’s Nicklaus Course in Kissimmee, FL for the Atlantic 10 Championship from April 28 to April 30.