CRANSTON – When the rain came through on Tuesday morning, it made the course soft. Ideal conditions to shoot the number of low scores that adorned the top of the leader board through the opening round of the 82nd Rhode Island Open Championship at Alpine Country Club.
The Sun came out on Wednesday, though, and with it came the wind, which made for a much different story.
As the sun turned the course hard, pins that could easily be attacked on Tuesday had to be played safe, while the whipping wind made fairways harder to hit. That which was once littered with red turned blue as above par rounds began trickling in from all positions.
Of the top 20 players on the leader board, only five posted better scores on Wednesday than on Tuesday, while the projected cut of 1-over to start the day kept pushing back throughout the round, ending at 4-over.
As the cut line fell back, so did many of the Southern Rhode Island locals vying for a chance to advance to the third round. All were already on the outside looking in coming into the day, and only one could make up enough ground to advance.
University of Rhode Island golfer Andrew Fiorenzano, who plays out of Metacomet Country Club, was one of just two locals who posted a better score than they had in the opening round, and was the only who posted one good enough to advance, firing a 1-over 73 for a combined score 148, which got him in right on the cut line.
“Yesterday I hit it awful and put 75 together everyway I could,” Fiorenzano said. “Today, if I had hit a few more greens I’d be in there for sure, but I’m pretty happy with it.”
After a birdie on the par-5 10th to start his round, like so many others in the field, Fiorenzano was hampered by the weather and struggled to make it to the turn at 2-over. As the day went on and the wind started to die down – Fiorenzano teed off at 1:40 p.m. – and the conditions became a bit more manageable.
“The greens dried up, so they picked up maybe a foot in pace, so you had to adjust to that and really just hit as many fairways as you could in the wind,” Fiorenzano said of the weather. “Basically the wind was the big thing.
“I kind of just survived on the back nine, which I think is harder. I made a couple birdies coming in on the last nine, kind of held it together.”
A bogey on the third put him further behind the cut line, but back-to-back birdies on holes four and five put him right back in the thick of the race. Though he was still unsure if he would make it or not when he signed his scorecard with a handful of groups still out on the course, things would play out in Fiorenzano’s favor.
The only other local to play better on Wednesday than they had on Tuesday was Fiorenzano’s URI teammate and fellow Metacomet member Jared Adams, who carded a 3-over 75 on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it was a rough start to the tournament for Adams as he played his first 18 holes at 9-over-par, going 12-over for the tournament.
One shot in front of Adams was yet another Ram teammate, Seamus Fennelly, whose Open experience played out in near reverse fashion.
Looking to be in good shape after posting a 4-over 76 on Tuesday, Fennelly struggled out of the gate on Wednesday and was 3-over at the turn en route to a 7-over 79, ending his tournament with a two-day total of 155, seven stroke off advancing.
Finishing in a tie with Fennelly at 11-over for the tournament was Potowomut’s Matt Costeragni. He had entered the day as the local in the best position to advance, just one stroke outside the top 40 after a 2-over 74 in round one.
Still in contention of doing so after shooting a 3-over 40 on the front side, the recent Prout graduate’s game continued to slip on the back side, coming back in with a 6-over 41.
Fellow 2013 graduate McKinley Slade did not fair much better as the former South Kingstown High standout carded a 7-over 79 in round two, finishing his Open in the 11-over group with Fennelly and Costeragni after shooting a 76 on Tuesday.
West Warwick Golf Club’s Don Wright played neither worse nor better in round two as he equaled his Tuesday total with a second round of 76 on Wednesday morning. Also equaling their scores from round one were North Kingstown Golf Club golfers Brian Owens and John Rainone, as they each shot 76 and 77, respectively.
Fellow North Kingstown golfer Rob Aldrich suffered a much worse fate than Owens and Rainone. After an opening round of 79, Aldrich was already 9-over for his second round at the turn and well out of contention for a spot on Thursday.
Potowomut’s Shawn Campbell came into the day tied with Aldrich at 7-over. Like Wright, Owens and Rainone before him, the club pro did no better or worse on Wednesday as he carded his second 79 in as many days.
Thursday Fiorenzano returned for his final round but struggled to with a 5-over-par 77 to finish in 45th place for the tournament.
As of 1:45 p.m. Thursday the tournament had yet to be decided but Shawn Warren of Nonesuch River Golf Club was in front at 11-under with six holes to play.
Billy Andrade was still in striking distance at 10-under also with six holes to play, while Michael Carbone, Jesse Larson and Geoffrey Sisk were each tied at 7-under.