In his four years here at UR, senior golfer Stephen Goodridge has made quite a name for himself. In the spring of 2006, he won the NCAA Division III National Championship for the ‘Jackets while also raking in a number of additional accolades, including the Jack Nicklaus Award – given to the most outstanding player in Division III.
Last school year, Goodridge had six victories and one runner-up finish in nine competitions and was invited back to Nationals.
The senior’s most recent accomplishment came this past weekend when he led UR to a second-place finish at the Muskingum College Invitational in Zanesville, Ohio, by shooting 141 through two rounds of play.
The score was good enough to tie for first place with the Mount Union College Raiders’ Jason Nussbaum, forcing the individual title to come down to a sudden-death playoff round. Goodridge beat Nussbaum on the first hole.
“This was my first individual win since last spring and my first-ever playoff victory, so it felt good to get a win,” Goodridge said.
The tournament comprised of nine teams and lasted two days. On the first day, the ‘Jackets shot 296 as a team – a score that was good enough to give them the lead going into the second round of play. Mount Union trailed by a small margin, thanks to a score of 299 in the first round.
On the second day, Mount Union shot an impressive 286 as a team. UR was unable to keep pace and eventually fell to the Raiders by a score of 585-599.
Goodridge was not the only strong performer for the ‘Jackets. Freshmen Chris Driscoll, Ryan Williams and Kevin Gay all shot solid rounds, providing hope that the success of this team will continue after Goodridge graduates.
“The freshmen on our team played very well,” Goodridge said. “We are going to need more of that consistency if we want to contend in the next few tournaments.”
The Invite was the first event of the spring for UR. In the fall, the ‘Jackets won one invitational and placed third out of six teams at the Liberty League Championships. The team will travel to Hershey, Pa. to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament this upcoming weekend before heading to Orlando, Fla. for the University Athletic Association Championships on April 14-15.
Head coach Dan Wesley was very pleased overall with his team’s performance.
“We have a ways to go, but we shot two decent scores, and we have something to build on,” Wesley said. “I think we have a great young nucleus on this team combined with some serious veteran talent in Goodridge and [junior] Jon Pecor.”
In addition to having a good mix of veterans and newcomers on the team, UR also proved this past weekend that it was capable of persevering through the elements.
“This tournament presented many challenges, such as cold weather, wet conditions, a long drive and bumpy greens,” Goodridge said.
Wesley was impressed with the poise of the veteran throughout the weekend.
“He played very well, and he showed our young guys how to handle some adverse conditions – cold, windy and wet conditions both days,” the coach said.
The next few weekends of competition will be the true test for UR. Last year, the ‘Jackets finished fourth out of five teams at UAA Championships – a mark they are optimistic that they will be able to improve upon this season.
“The schedule gets real tough real fast in the coming weeks, but we will compete relentlessly and play smart,” Wesley said. “I can’t wait to see the results.”
Hilfinger is a member of
the class of 2010.