Francoeur Named New England Golfer of the Year, Gillis & Richards Also Recognized

Francoeur Named New England Golfer of the Year, Gillis & Richards Also Recognized

KINGSTON, R.I. - Rhode Island's Chris Francoeur has been named the New England Golfer of the Year, joining Brandon Gillis and Bryson Richards on the Division I All-New England team.

Francoeur, Gillis and Richards were the only players on the team to compete in all five tournaments this past year, helping lead Rhody to a trio of top-5 finishes, including the team title at Villanova's Wildcat Fall Invitational.

"I am very proud of these three guys," head coach Gregg Burke said. "For the third time in the last four years, we have three All-New England selections, and for the third time in the last five years, the New England Golfer of the Year hails from URI. This is a true credit to the young men we have in this program and their dedication and commitment to success."

Francoeur - who also was named to the PING All-Northeast Region Team - led the way for Rhody throughout his junior campaign, wrapping up the fall season with an impressive 69.4 scoring average. He claimed individual medalist honors at the Alex Lagowitz Memorial and placed second at the Wildcat Fall Invitational. The Amesbury, Mass. native also had a pair of third-place finishes - at the Dartmouth Invitational and the Georgetown Intercollegiate.

"Chris was just dominant," Burke said. "Shooting 23-under par through five tournaments is unheard of. He finished third in the country in scoring and was 136th in the national GolfStat rankings, which is the lowest number in my tenure as head coach. His dedication academically, in the weight room, and at practice is as solid as I have ever seen."

Richards made the most of his rookie campaign, turning in a 73.0 scoring average through five tournaments. In just his second collegiate tournament, The Doc Gimmler, finished 4-under with a pair of 67s to earn co-medalist honors.

Gillis got off to a slow start after transferring to Rhode Island last year and sitting out the 2019 spring. By his third tournament this fall, he found his groove, going 4-under (t-5th) at the Dartmouth Invitational and following with a 5-under (t-3rd) showing at the Wildcat Fall Invitational. Like Richards, he finished the fall season with a 73.0 scoring average.

"Bryson had a spectacular year, highlighted by winning the Gimmler," Burke added. "Brandon was solid too, but had to shake off the rust for the first couple tournaments. I was impressed with how he turned it around and finished strong after not being at his best to open the season."

Rhode Island was scheduled to kick off its spring slate at the Carpetbagger Classic (March 21-22) when the remainder of the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.