KINGSTON, R.I. - Rhode Island's Billy Walthouse has been named the New England Division I Golfer of the Year - for the second year in a row - in voting conducted among the region's head coaches. Walthouse was also named to the All-New England team, along with teammates Chris Houston and Dawson Jones.
Additionally, Rhode Island was named New England's Team of the Year while head coach Gregg Burke received Coach of the Year honors.
"I humbly accept the Coach of the Year Award on behalf of assistant coach Greg Barber, strength coach Daniel Anthony, our tremendous supporters and, of course, our student-athletes," Burke said. "It was a wonderful year in so many ways. We won four times, which is just the second time in URI history that has happened. We also achieved our highest national ranking in 12 years."
Walthouse - a Longmeadow, Mass. product - is one of the top student-athletes in the history of the Rhody golf program. Now a two-time New England Golfer of the Year, two-time Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar and two-time A-10 Academic All-Conference honoree, he finished his senior season with the team's best stroke average at 71.8. He also was Rhode Island's top finisher in five of the team's 10 events this past year, turning in a pair of second-place finishes as well as seven top-15 finishes. Over the course of his career, he collected three Atlantic 10 All-Conference awards, three PING All-Northeast Region awards and three All-New England awards.
Houston, a grad student who completed his undergraduate degree at Penn State, was the individual medalist in two tournaments this year - the Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge and the Manor Intercollegiate. Also a 2017 Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar, he was URI's top finisher in three tournaments overall and had seven top-20 performances. The Gilford, N.H. native ended the season with a 72.4 stroke average.
A native of Howell, N.J., Jones finished just behind Walthouse in scoring with a 72.0 stroke average. He carded Rhody's low round of the year at The Doc Gimmler at Bethpage Red, shooting a second-round 63 on the par-70 course. Overall, the Rhody sophomore had three top-5 finishes, and finished 22nd or better in all 10 tournaments.
In addition to earning All-New England accolades, Walthouse, Houston and Jones also were named to the 2017 Atlantic 10 All-Conference team as well as the PING All-Northeast Region team.
"Individually, I am incredibly proud of our 'Big 3' in Billy, Chris and Dawson," Burke said. "It had been 11 years since we had three players named All-Northeast, 16 years since we had three All-Conference players, and for the second time ever, had two players named All-American Scholars.
"Billy being recognized as the Player of the Year in New England is terrific too, especially when you consider that New England teams placed six players on the All-Northeast Team. But I am most proud that our guys were recognized as Team of the Year. That takes all nine guys because even the players who don't play in tournaments on a particular week contributed in practice to push the other guys."
The Rams recorded four tournament victories throughout the 2016-17 campaign, winning two team titles in the fall and two in the spring. Rhode Island also earned an NCAA Public Recognition Award for outstanding academic achievement.
2017 Division I All-New England Team
Ambrose Abbracciamento, Hartford
Christian Cavaliere, Boston College
Eric Dietrich, Connecticut
Jimmy Hervol, Connecticut
Chris Houston, Rhode Island
Dawson Jones, Rhode Island
Nabeel Khan, Connecticut
Matt Naumec, Boston College
Ryan Tombs, Bryant
Billy Walthouse, Rhode Island