Two short years ago, Chris Francoeur burst onto the collegiate golf scene as a freshman for University of Rhode Island.
The former Salem News all-star and St. John's Prep standout recorded three top-15 finishes and one top-5 performance that year, while securing a low round of 70. He was named the Division 1 New England Rookie of the Year at season's end.
Since that heralded debut campaign, Francoeur's game has drastically improved. And as of Monday afternoon, he's added some fresh hardware to his resume.
After wrapping up the year with a scoring average under 70 -- by far his best in three years at URI -- Francoeur was named the New England Golfer of the Year. That came on the heels of his PING All-Northeast Region Team recognition.
"It was a nice honor to get the award with all the good players around here. It was one of my goals heading into the season," said Francoeur, an Amesbury native. "I had set a goal just before the season to average 71 or lower, so it was also nice to achieve that by almost two strokes better."
En-route to the distinguished accolades, Francoeur posted an 18-hole scoring average of 69.4, a significant improvement from the already impressive 74.3 his freshman year and 73.7 as a sophomore. The mark was the third in the country for Division 1, which Francoeur credits to a better short game.
"I worked really hard on my short game and that's really all it was. I was still hitting the ball really well, I just avoided 3-putting and was really solid from six-10 feet," said Francoeur.
"Also my mental game was really good. I feel as though my course management improved a lot. I started working from the green back to the tee versus the tee to the green."
Francoeur also added that the weight room training with his team and trainer over the past year has helped him gain distance with his drives.
Without a spring golf season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Francouer competed in five events for a total of 14 rounds in the fall of 2019. He recorded a low round of 67 with his best performance coming in a victorious final round at the Colgate Tournament.
With many of his scheduled summer tournaments already postponed, Francoeur is now hoping to continue his competitive career in the latter part of the summer before heading back to school for a farewell campaign.