The golf team won the rain-shortened URI Invitational in Portsmouth, R.I.
Thanks to the rain, the golf team didn’t have to wait another day to win its first tournament in more than two years.
Temple won the rain-shortened University of Rhode Island Spring Invitational by four strokes with a team score of 299, winning a tournament for the first time since the Philadelphia Big 5 Invitational in October 2008. The tournament, held at the Green Valley Country Club in Portsmouth, R.I., lasted only one round on Friday before Saturday’s second round was canceled because of inclement weather.
The win marked the team’s fifth-straight Top 5 finish. Previously, the Owls finished third at the Yale Spring Opener, fourth at the Wildcat Invitational, fifth at the Princeton Invitational and fourth at the Century Intercollegiate.
Coach Brian Quinn said he believes his team’s mentality has been key to its recent success.
“They’ve been playing real well now for their seven or eight tournaments,” Quinn said. “To be honest, these kids had been chomping at the bit and hadn’t been able to quite cross the finish line. But now, they’re realizing that they’re a good team and don’t need to be perfect to win. That takes away a lot of stress, especially for such a young team.”
Senior Andrew Mason led the team and tied for third overall in the tournament with a 1-over-par 71. Freshman Steve Burak tied for sixth overall after carding a 2-over-par 73 while freshmen Connor McNicholas and Russell Hartung each placed 15th with 75 strokes. Army’s freshman Anthony Kim won the individual competition with a 2-under-par 69.
Mason has led the way for the Owls in seven of their 11 tournaments thus far. He has been credited by Quinn for not only leading the team on the golf course, but for performing exceptionally in the classroom as well.
“He’s really helped [show] the team how to travel, study and play and has given them a short cut to success,” Quinn said. “We have three freshmen and one sophomore in our starting lineup, and he’s been a great role model for all of them. I can’t tell you how sad I’m going to be when the year is over. He’s like a son to me.”
The Owls seem to be playing their best golf of the season heading into the Atlantic Ten Conference Tournament. Charlotte won last year’s tournament, while Temple finished 10th behind Mark Edmondson’s 17th place finish. Edmondson, now a senior, is currently the team’s sixth man.
Temple’s starting lineup consists of Mason, sophomore Devin Bibeau, Burak, McNicholas and Hartung. With such a young team, Quinn knows it is usually the mental mistakes that can hinder a team’s performance.
“The key is really playing intelligently and keeping the mental mistakes to a minimum, which is something we’re getting better at,” Quinn said. “From a physical standpoint, we’re as good as any team. We’re young, so our mental strengths are a little weaker than some teams, but it won’t stop us from being competitive. I’m excited to see how they’re going to respond to the challenge.”
The Owls will compete next in the A-10 Championship, April 30 through May 2 in Orlando, Fla.
Tyler Sablich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.