Golf Finishes Dead Last at Atlantic 10 Tournament


Tomas Nieves was a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy weekend for Fordham Golf. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

By Jimmy Sullivan

Fordham Golf showed some signs of improvement throughout the spring season, and this was exemplified by a fifth-place finish at the Rhode Island Invitational two weeks ago.

However, at the Atlantic 10 Championships this past weekend, the team struggled to perform up to par and finished last among 11 teams at the Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando, Fla.

In fact, in addition to finishing at the bottom of the tournament, Fordham finished 39 strokes back of La Salle University, the 10th-place finishers. Even worse, the Rams put together just four rounds under 80 at the tournament; for reference, the tournament winners, Virginia Commonwealth University, did not post an individual round above 78.

The Rams got off on the wrong foot on Friday by posting a combined score of 332, 44 strokes over par. The only player below 80, and the only player to consistently perform for the Rams all weekend, was junior Tomas Nieves, who started the tournament with a 78. Aside from him, freshman Billy Harrison posted a 12-over 84, and seniors Tommy Hayes and Josh Madarang each shot an 85.

Things got significantly better on Saturday, and the positive news was not just limited to the on-course play. Head coach Paul Dillon, who just completed his 23rd season at the helm of Fordham Golf, was inducted into the Fordham Athletics Hall of Fame. Dillon could not be at 583 Park Avenue to accept the honor, so his sons, Paul, Jr., Matt and Kevin–who is best known for playing Johnny Drama on HBO’s “Entourage”– accepted the award on his behalf.

And with the head coach staying with his team in Florida, the Rams bounced back slightly. Nieves shot a 77 and Madarang rebounded impressively with a three-over 75, but Harrison and Hayes shot 80 and 85, respectively. On Sunday, Nieves continued his strong play, but the rest of the Rams could not keep up.

While the junior was one stroke away from even par at 73, no one else was able to stay below 80. Madarang shot 80 on the nose, Harrison had his worst round of the week with an 85 and Hayes did not do much better with an 82. While Fordham shot better on the final two days of the weekend than it did on the first, the Rams were still statistically the worst team on the course every day of the tournament. This was not the consistency Fordham was looking for. Also competing individually for Fordham was sophomore Anthony Wells, and his three rounds of 92-80-84 did not count against Fordham’s tally in the tournament. Nieves’ 12-over 228 was good for a tie for 29th on the individual leaderboard over the three days.

This offseason will be an interesting one for Hall of Famer Paul Dillon and his Rams. Hayes and Madarang are gone, but the rest of the team will likely return. Fordham will look to rally with better play and better performances in the 2019-20 season, and the Rams will look to put this season behind them as soon as possible.