by Eileen Flynn ’20
The Providence College Club Golf Team has become one of the more successful teams on campus over the past couple of months. Without a Division 1 team, Providence College looks to the club team.
16 Friars are led by Head Coach John Conley and Assistant Coach Johnathan Cooper. Conley graduated from Providence in 1986 and was a member of the PC golf team. As a student, he was selected to represent his college in an International Competition vs. Irish Universities.
The top eight of the 16 players on the team are the students that travel and compete in tournaments throughout the season. The PC club team has participated in six different competitions in the fall 2017 season.
On Sept. 10, the team traveled to Brunswick, Maine and prepared to face 10 other schools at the Bowdoin Invitational. The Friars finished the weekend with a total of 639 shots, just 36 behind tournament champion, St. Anselm’s College. Matt Carlson ’20 led the Friars with a low score of 154, tying in third place overall. Ian Axford ’20 and Alex Bassetto ’20 shot a 161, the next lowest scores for the Friars, tying in 22nd overall.
The next tournament took place in Hanover, New Hampshire the following weekend. SNHU hosted Providence and 14 other teams for the SHNU Penmen Fall Invitational. Carlson, ’20, and Jake Ewing ’20 shot a 147 and 150 respectively, placing them in the top 50 golfers. The Friars placed 11th out of 15 teams.
In the fall season, the Friars participated in two regional qualifiers with a goal of playing well and advancing to the fall National Championship located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first NCCGA of the year took place at Wentworth Hills Country Club in Plainville, Massachusetts. Providence came up on top and outshot rivals Boston College and University of Connecticut by 16. The consistent team leader, Carlson, lead the Friars and fired rounds of 78 and 72 for a total of 150. Carlson placed fifth in a pool of 90 golfers. Axford ’20, and Cole Manning ’20, also hit well and finished in a tie for 6th place with a total of 151 over two days.
The team’s winning momentum carrried into the second NCCGA qualifier at Crestview Country Club in Agawam, Massachusetts. This time, the Friars out shot UConn by 15. Carlson secured the qualifier individual title with an impressive two-day total of 147. Axford trailed Carlson by six, while Bassetto and Manning totaled 153 over the two days. By winning each regional qualifier, the Friars clinched a victory in the New England Region, catapulting the young team to the national championship.
The last time the Friars made an appearance at the national championship was in 2014. “We have a great group of guys and we play really well together as a team,” explains Carlson, “I told the guys to keep the ball in front of them, to believe they could make every putt, and to have fun.” The Friars are very excited about their qualifying for the national championship. Manning is also happy with the team’s success. “I’m so proud of all of my teammates and my coach, John Conley. We all appreciate his dedication to this team.”
The Friars have earned their national ranking of 18th overall and are anxiously awaiting their trek to Las Vegas in the first days of December.