EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (July 26, 2016) -- Mistake-free
golf carried Kevin Silva to the title in the 33rd RIGA
Stroke Play Championship Tuesday at Agawam Hunt.
The 2015 Amateur champion did not make a bogey
in his last 26 holes as he came from behind and beat
two-time defending champion Brad Valois by two shots.
Silva had a 68 in the first round of the 36-hole day to
put himself in position and then put together the best
round of the tournament, a 4-under 65, to charge to the
title with a 4-under 203 total.
The strong finish for the 32-year-old field engineer
for a company that installs cell phone towers was all the
more impressive considering the long day and the 90-
"What a long day. I’m still putting my thoughts
together," Silva said shortly before 8 p.m. when the day
finished. "I tried to limit the mistakes. I tried to give
While just about everyone else was fighting the
weather and the challenging conditions presented by
Agawam’s recently renovated layout, Silva had no
problems dealing with anything.
"I like to grind. I love it," he said.
The North Carolina graduate and former pro was
fully aware of where he stood. He was playing one
group ahead of Valois in what came down to almost
match-play conditions over the final nine.
"I was constantly asking the rules official how I
stood. I wish me and Brad could have played together,"
Silva said. "I wanted to know where we stood.’’
Silva and Valois were within one stroke of each
other for most of the final round. They were tied at 3-
under for the tournament when Silva was on 13 and
Valois on 12. At about the same time, Silva rolled in a
curling 15-footer for bird on 13 and Valois bogeyed 12
for a two-shot swing.
Another of the key swings came at the end of the
second round. At one point late in that round, Valois got
to 5-under for the tournament and five up on the field.
However, on the downhill par-4 closing hole, Valois
drove right into the edge of the first fairway. He had
tree troubles on his approach and hit that one right, into
bushes that guard that side of the course from the
parking lot. His ball was literally in a rhododendron
Because he also was near a cart path, it looked as if
he might be entitled to a free drop and escape trouble.
However, the rules dictate that he would have to drop
away from the hole, which would have been him even
deeper into the bush and into an unplayable lie.
Valois decided to kneel and hold his club backwards
to hit the ball back into play. He did, but did not move it
far. He got on the green in four and two-putted for a
When he also bogeyed the first and third holes, he
suddenly was one behind Silva. Silva, playing in the
group ahead of Valois, birdied two of his first three
holes in round three. Only one other player, Cameron
Andrade was in the title chase at that point. Cameron
Andrade had posted his second straight 69 in round two
and birdied the third hole in round three to get to 1-
under for the tournament, just one off the lead at that
As it was, Kyle Hoffman finished third at even-par
210 and Tyler Cooke fourth at 212, including a closing
Silva’s ability to halt Valois’ reign broke with
tournament history. The event has been dominated by
repeat winners. Paul Quigley, who has won the event
nine times in all, went back-to-back-to-back in 1988-90
and then again in 1992-1993 and 1995-1996. Jason
Pannone did the double in 2006-07, which gave him
three in four years, since he also won in 2004. Charlie
Blanchard won in 2008-09 and then again in 2011 and,
of course, Valois in 2014 and 2015.
Quigley won the Senior Division this year, posting
scores of 70 (one below his age), 74 and 72. His 216
total was 13th best overall. Senior Division players play
from the senior tees.
View results for Rhode Island Stroke Play Golf Championship