While UR students were wrapping up their exams, junior Steven Goodridge was doing something that no one in the history of UR athletics had ever done: winning the NCAA Division III Golf Championship title.
Hosted this year at the Firthorne Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb. from May 8-11, the competition consisted of 23 teams along with five individuals to generate a field of 120 players vying for one of the most prestigious honors that Division III golf has to offer.
Goodridge was invited as one of the five individuals after completing a superb sophomore year and he has the hardware to prove it. Over the course of last season, Goodridge received numerous accolades for his performance on the golf course, most notably the Jack Nicklaus Award and Arnold Palmer Award, which are named after the top professionals in the history of golf.
Anxiety was not an obstacle at this tournament for Goodridge. Having competed in it as a freshman, Goodridge placed 57th, which was deserving of the Phil Mickelson Award for the tournament’s top freshman. This finish came shortly after he was crowned Division III Freshman of the Year.
The first round of play was the toughest for Goodridge. He birdied three holes, bogied six and triple bogeyed one to put him at six over par.
After finishing the first round with a 77, Goodridge looked to settle down in the second round. He did exactly that, shooting an even-par 71. He birdied two cups and bogeyed two to keep him at six strokes over par for the tournament.
Goodridge made his move in the third round. He nailed six birdies and got tagged for just three bogies turning in a score of 68 on the evening to lower his tournament score to just three over par.
The third round performance elevated Goodridge to the top of the herd which left him to grind it out in the fourth round if he was going to stay at the top of the leader board. He kept his cool, plunking three birdies while giving up five bogeys. That performance put him at two strokes over par on the final round and five over for the tournament, good enough to give him a two shot victory.
“Steven is very consistent because he is able to concentrate and compartmentalize his obligations to both golf and academics,” head coach Rich Johnson said.
As if winning an NCAA title wasn’t enough, Goodridge captured the John H. Ryan Memorial Championship at Mendon Country Club in July. The tournament is one of the most prestigious amateur events in the area.
Goodridge led the tournament after every round. What makes his accomplishment even more impressive is that, due to heavy rains on day one, he had to play 36 holes on the final day.
He started the tournament on fire, shooting a six-under par 65 to grab a two stroke lead. He increased his lead to three with a second round 70. On the final day, he opened with a solid 72 in the morning.
His second round of the day, however, showed just how impressive his game can be. He left the field in his wake with a five-under par 66 that gave him an 11-under par 273. The second place golfer was five shots back with a 278.
Goodridge enters his junior year with a mile-long resume compiled from just two years of play on the golf course. He’s already been selected to the first team All-American as a sophomore and there’s a strong chance that he will repeat that honor. He’s also picked up practically every piece of hardware Division III has to offer its competing golfers.
“There’s no reason to think he can’t win the [NCAA] title two more times, he’s that good,” Johnson said.
Serafini can be reached at email@example.com.Additional reporting by Alex Moeller