The University of Rhode Island Spring Invitational, held in Portsmouth, R.I., at the Green Valley Country Club, resembled a professional major in some ways. Rain inundated the course, shortening the event to 18 holes. The Colonials now feel like they are wearing the green jacket.
The squad placed second overall in the rain-shortened event with a score of 297 and freshman Tim Johnson won the tournament, carding a three-under par 68. The victory was the first in Johnson’s career.
“It was kind of unfair realizing our tee time and realizing that earlier teams would have better weather, but that’s the way it is sometimes,” Johnson said.
Coach Scott Allen agreed with Johnson’s assessment of the weather.
“The thing about it is Rhode Island played in the morning when the weather wasn’t bad, and we played in the afternoon when the weather was really bad” Allen said. “We got the worst of the conditions, and in some ways I think that makes our 297 more impressive than URI’s 292.”
The second round of the competition was cancelled due to rain, which made things even tougher for the Colonials.
“I’ll be honest with you, it was really awesome to win,” Johnson said. “But, I was really disappointed we didn’t get the opportunity to win as a team.
“It was huge for Tim. I’ve been proud of him all season, as he’s been working hard,” Allen said. “He’s done a great job with his short game, pitching and putting. He birdied a couple of really tough holes with bad incoming weather.”
Johnson said the conditions made play nearly impossible.
“It was hard to keep your hands dry,” noted Johnson. “When you’re trying to swing a club with rubber grips, water doesn’t exactly help. It had to have been the toughest conditions I’ve ever played golf in.”
Sophomore Jack Tyler finished in a tie for seventh with a 74, while junior Brian Carroll was one shot back in a tie for 13th.
The squad now prepares to leave for the Atlantic 10 Tournament, which will also be held in Rhode Island from Friday through Sunday, at but this time at the Newport National Golf Club.
“(Tim’s victory) gives us a lot of confidence going into the A-10s, as we have five guys who have won one Division I tournament in the last two years,” Allen said. “Rhode Island is the favorite, as they won the competition last year, but we have a lot of confidence after playing them close on their home course this weekend.”