Michael Richard fit right in with the University of Maine-Farmington golf team last season.

After spending his freshman year at the University of New England in 2014, he joined the Beavers for his sophomore campaign, and was named to the North Atlantic Conference second-team all-conference team and also to the sportsmanship team.

His season included a third-place finish at the Maine Intercollegiate Championship at Fairlawn Golf Course in Poland.

The key to his success last year was the season spend at UNE.

“I think it was just getting that one year of experience,” Richard said. “It took a lot of failure — not failure, but you could say it took a lot of college matches — to get used to the different pressure, you can say and the different expectations that were there than high school. I guess you can say it was the adaptation from high school golf to college golf. The first year was getting up to speed. I took off my sophomore year.”

Richard, a 2014 St. Dominic Academy graduate, was used having success in a team environment in an individual sport. During his time at St. Dom’s, the Saints won three state championships. He competed in two of those championships, during his junior and senior years.

He said at St. Dom’s, the focused was on the team aspect of the game, which he said helped him prepare for college game.

Getting someone with a championship pedigree like Richard helps the Beavers, who have finished fifth in the NAC Championships the past three seasons.

“It helps him in the sense (he) has knowledge of competition and what it’s like to compete,” UMF coach Bob Timmins said. “What it really means: some of the differences is the endurances because playing 18-holes and sometimes 36 as opposed to nine-hole matches. It’s basically the psychological aspect of it of the team competition.”

Richard hopes to help build a tradition of winning while he’s at Farmington.

“While we aren’t powerhouses, we have came a long way,” Richard said. “Who know what’s going to happen this year?”

At UNE, he found himself in the rotation with the Nor’easters and shot in mostly the low-80s. He transferred to UMF for academic purposes, but Timmins said he was glad when he heard about Richard transferring.

When Richard did transfer, joining the Beavers’ golf team wasn’t on the forefront of his mind.

“I transferred because I wanted to switch my major,” Richard said. “I didn’t really talk to the golf coach before I came here, I kind of made my decision. After I got accepted, I got in touch with the golf coach. He was happy to take me in.”

At UNE, Richard was in the medical biology program. He has since switched to business economics.

Richard also said the team bonded very quickly this past season and he was able to make friends very fast. While the Beavers play in the NAC and the Nor’easters play in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, they see each other a lot during the season at tournaments, so players knew who he was despite only one year at UNE.

“It was like he was already here (for his freshman year),” Timmins said. “One of the benefits of Maine collegiate golf is a lot of the players know each other through the competitions because we continually compete against each other. Even though he may have been at another school, our team knew him, he knew us, that type of thing. The assimilation was much easier and he did fit right in.”

Richard is off to a strong start in 2016. He finished fifth with a 74 in the opening tournament of the year, the University of Southern Maine Invitational at the Gorham Country Club on Sept. 1. At the 14th annual John Queenan Memorial Tournament hosted by St. Joseph’s College at Point Sebago, he finished in a tie for ninth, shooting an 80.

He didn’t play much this summer to prepare for the season.

“To be honest, I didn’t prepare much for this season,” Richard said. “I kind of worked a lot, when he hit preseason, that’s when I really started the preparation. I started playing every day in the preseason and focus on what coach wanted us to focus on.”

So far, so good for Richard.

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