Townies tee off with eye towards state tournament berth

East Providence returns a solid group of golfers in 2024

By Mike Rego
Posted 4/18/24

By past standards, the East Providence High School golf team had a terrific, if yet ultimately unfulfilling season a year ago.

Any squad, including the Townies would have been very satisfied …

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Townies tee off with eye towards state tournament berth

East Providence returns a solid group of golfers in 2024


By past standards, the East Providence High School golf team had a terrific, if yet ultimately unfulfilling season a year ago.

Any squad, including the Townies, would have been very satisfied with their 2023 season record of 11-3 in the always-difficult Eastern Division, which features some of most difficult and historic courses Rhode Island has to offer.

However, a change in the qualification standards for the state tournament meant East Providence was on the outside looking in. Rather than going by regular season record and a playoff match from the five divisions to determine a 15-team field for the championship event, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League opted to use a season-long average of four qualifying scores over nine holes from each match to fill a reduced contingent of 10 schools.

Under the old format, East Providence, which finished third in the East standings behind perennial division and state power Barrington as well as second-place Portsmouth, would have hosted and likely won a playoff match and gained access to states.

Instead, the Townies recorded a team scoring average of 171, which was the 14th-best in the state. The 167 by Pilgrim was the 10th-best team scoring average in 2023, earning the Patriots the final spot into the championship tourney.

"I think we are better than we were last year, which was 11-3. But that doesn't help us," said long-time EPHS head coach Bill McEnery. "I do think we should be better scoring-wise, though."

McEnery has reason to be optimistic. His Townies return all of their key contributors from last spring and they just  shared 10th place out of 18 teams at the annual season-opening Challenge Cup played last week at Potowomut Country Club in Warwick and Ledgemont CC in nearby Seekonk.

The Townies and Saints each carded two-day total of 697. Reigning state champion LaSalle won the event at 610. Aforementioned Barrington shared sixth with Coventry at 660.

East Providence's top-two players, senior Billy Fitzgerald and sophomore Nathan Carter, paced the locals. The former shot 81-80 to finish T46 at 161 while the latter carded 83-81-164 to place T60.

"We're very fortunate this year in that we have two No. 1s. Billy is playing from the No. 1 position. He's a solid player. He deserves to be there. And Nathan is right there. He's very good also. He'll play No. 2," said McEnery, noting both qualified individually to compete in the 2023 state tournament.

The rest of the EPHS lineup includes senior captain Zach Mendo, who will play No. 3 in the order, sophomore Noah Araujo at four and senior Nathan Tavares at five. All three are returning regulars. In the mix as well is freshman Matt Lalanne. Two other players, returning soph Jacob Grilo and freshman Jericho Seals, round out the roster.

"We are contenders for the state tournament," McEnery said, emphatically. Again, to note, the top 10 teams based on their scoring average for the regular season, regardless of their divisions and their match records, qualify for the state tournament to played Memorial Day week, May 28 and 29, at its traditional home of Cranston Country Club.

"My goal is I want to get the whole team to states, not just individuals. I want six players to go. And we're there," McEnery added. "That isn't wishing. It can be done. We need our 1-4 to play well consistently this year. Our goal every time we play a match is going to be to break 170. If we do, I think we'll get in."

East Providence will once again utilize the Agawam Hunt Club in Rumford for practice and matches. McEnery said the course very graciously added a fourth day of availability to the team this spring. The Townies now have access to the Donald Ross layout Mondays-Thursdays.

After starting the week with road matches against Tiverton with Portsmouth at Montaup Golf Club and in Middletown with Bay View at Wanumetonomy CC, East Providence plays a pair of home matches next week: April 29 against Mt. Hope and May 1 against Barrington and Rogers. Both tee off at 3 p.m.

The Townies' only other home match takes place Monday, May 6, against Middletown and Portsmouth also at 3 p.m. Their other road matches are at Rhode Island CC, Newport CC and Swansea CC.

2024 by East Bay Media Group

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.