Past and present collide as Rams find success on golf course

Photo courtesy of VCU Athletics
Photo courtesy of VCU Athletics

In what has come to be an exciting two-week stretch for VCU golf, both current and former Rams have found ways to represent the winning culture of the Black and Gold on scenic courses across the country.

Over the weekend, 2010 VCU graduate Rafael Campos closed out an impressive performance at the PGA’s Shell Houston Open after finishing seventh at 11-under-par.

Campos, who came into the weekend ranked 636th in the Official World Golf Rankings, found himself in the top-10 for the second straight tournament after finishing tied for 10th at his home country’s Puerto Rico Open last week.

Sunday’s final-round 69 gave Campos his best-ever finish in the 28-year-old’s six-year PGA Tour career. His previous best was at last year’s Puerto Rico Open, where Campos finished tied for eighth at 9-under.

Campos normally competes on the PGA’s Tour, but the former Ram’s last two weeks’ winnings more than tripled his total earnings in all of 2016. If Campos continues his strong play, he could find himself alongside 1997 VCU grad John Rollins with a regular spot on the PGA Tour.

This weekend’s finish puts Campos one step closer to achieving that feat, as his seventh-place finish earns the former Ram a spot at the PGA Tour’s next stop at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C. next week.

Joining Campos among VCU golf’s headlines was current Ram Alister Balcombe. The junior college transfer earned himself Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors last week after a strong performance at the Seminole Intercollegiate early last month.

Balcombe, a junior from Clevedon, England, followed up his top-10 performance in Tallahassee, Fla. with a top-30 outing a week later at the Linger Longer Invitational in Eatonton, Ga.

The Ram rookie is no stranger to success in golf. During his time at Iowa Western Junior College, Balcombe was twice named an NJCAA First-Team All-American and even qualified for the 144th British Open at St. Andrews in 2015.

Balcombe looks to replace the loss of former Rams Adam Ball — a two-time individual A-10 conference champion — and Steffen Harm as the Black and Gold head to Orlando, Fla. later this month to fight for their fourth-straight A-10 Championship.

Until then, the Rams have two tournaments to close out what has been an up-and-down regular season. They next head to Kannapolis, N.C. to compete in the Irish Creek Intercollegiate on Saturday. From there, they finish off the regular season at Penn State’s Rutherford Intercollegiate before heading to the Sunshine State for the conference championship April 28.


Nick Versaw, Staff Writer 

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