Golf Ends Season on a High


P.J. O’Rourke was the star man for Fordham at the A-10’s. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

The Fordham golf team ended their 2021-22 campaign at the Atlantic 10 Championship at Reunion Golf Club in Orlando, Florida from April 29 to May 1. The team finished ninth out of 11 teams, the same position they finished in last year, but the individual play of junior P.J. O’Rourke leaves a great taste in the mouth of the team headed into the offseason.

The team finished ninth at 40-over par through the three rounds over the weekend, eight shots ahead of 10th place La Salle University and 22 shots behind eighth place St. Bonaventure University. They beat the only teams, La Salle and St. Joe’s, that they realistically could beat coming into the week, as the class of the A-10 have some of the best teams in the country. Davidson College shot 13-under as a team to win the A-10 Championship for the second consecutive season. The Wildcats are the 12 seed in the Palm Beach Gardens Regional, hosted at PGA National, home of the TOUR’s Honda Classic. Last year, they finished t-10 out of 14 teams in the Tallahassee Regional. 

The high point of the Rams season came from O’Rourke, who shot a three-under 69 in round one to launch into second place. After Kristian Tannum Donaldson shot a 67 on Friday, the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) player shot a 75 on Saturday, bringing him back to three-under. O’Rourke shot even-par 72 and was tied for the lead with 18 holes to play. The winning player gets an invite as an individual to the NCAA Tournament as well, so O’Rourke was playing for a lot come Sunday. He went out and shot another even-par score, capping off a fantastic week with no over-par rounds. He finished in a tie for fifth, four shots behind VCU’s Adrian Vagberg who went 72-69-68 to take the trophy. Vagberg will play in the Yale Regional in the tournament. 

This was not O’Rourke’s first fantastic round of the year. He compared round one to the first round of the Hartford Invite at Bull’s Bridge in the fall. “…I call it ‘unconscious’ golf,” said O’Rourke. “It’s where everything clicks and your mentality switches from making pars to trying to birdie every hole.” He was easily the player of the year for the Rams and was the lone light spot in an otherwise difficult spring schedule. 

O’Rourke credits his mental strength with his great round, especially after two tough holes. He started on the 10th hole and was two-under through nine. He made birdie on one, two and three to get to five-under through 12 holes. The fourth and the fifth were tough holes for O’Rourke. “I hit my approach shot to 20 feet but got too aggressive on a downhill putt and missed the putt coming back to make a bogey. A silly mistake three putting from 20 feet. That was my biggest mistake of the day. On the next hole I hit my driveway right and was out of bounds by just a few inches. Getting down there and seeing my ball just inches into the penalty zone I could have easily gotten angry and let it affect my game, however I stayed composed, went back to the tee and made a par on my second ball.”

Junior Nicholas Manning finished second on the Rams, 15 shots behind O’Rourke. Fellow junior John Kryscio got off to a tough start with an 80 on Friday, finishing at 231 for the week. Freshman Jake Mrva shot a 235 and senior Ryan Davis shot a 240 for the weekend. Par for the week was 216. 

While this was a disappointing spring for the Rams, they can prepare for next season knowing they are led by one of the best players in the A-10 in P.J. O’Rourke.