Links: Final Results
Andrew Sciarretta of Brooklawn Country Club birdied three of the final four holes in the final match and was able to overcome an early deficit to defeat Connor O'Brien of Oak Hills Park Golf Course to capture the 74th Connecticut Junior Amateur title. The state most prestigious junior championship was conducted July 6th - 9th on the par-71, 6,423 yard course at Watertown Golf Club in Watertown, Connecticut.
Sciarretta, a rising senior at Fairfield Prep, entered the finals of the Connecticut Junior seeking to capture his first CSGA major championship, having advanced to the quarterfinals last year before losing to Nathaniel Dong. At seventeen years of age, this would mark his third and final chance at capturing the Junior Amateur trophy, and he faced a challenging opponent in O'Brien who won the Junior Amateur in 2013.
Much like his semifinal match yesterday, O'Brien jumped off to a fast start, winning the first two holes to go 2-up, and maintained the two hole advantage through seven holes. But for Sciarretta, being down early was also familiar territory. In his semifinal match again Michael VanDerLaan, he was 3-down through ten holes before clawing his way back to a 2-up victory.
“I got off to a slow start in a few of my matches this week and was down on the front nine, but my goal was always to try to get it back to all-square heading into the back nine,” said Sciarretta
No doubt for both players, the flow of the final match changed direction on the 9th green. After Sciarretta won the 8th with a par to trim the deficit to one, he hit his tee shot on the par-3 9th hole into the greenside bunker. He hit is sand shot to thirty feet from the hole, and with O'Brien a mere eight feet away, it seemed the lead for O’Brien would likely turn back to two. However, Sciarretta stepped up and drained his long par putt and after O’Brien missed his attempt at par, the match was suddenly all square.
“The 9th hole was definitely a big swing point in the match,” said O'Brien. “I went from having an eight footer to go back to 2-up to being all square in the course of ninety seconds. “it was definitely a little jolting for me.”
The two would trade blows on the 10th and 13th holes, and standing on the 14th tee, the match remained all-square. But like the 9th hole, a long putt would change the course of the match again. After O’Brien lagged his birdie attempt to a few feet from the hole, Sciarretta rolled in another clutch putt, this time a thirty foot putt for birdie that would give him a 1-up advantage.
“It was a long putt, so I just picked a good spot between my ball and the hole, and hit the putt how I wanted to, and it found the cup,” said Sciarretta.
The two players made pars on #15 and birdies on #16, and after Sciarretta blasted his tee shot on the par-4 17th into the right rough, it seemed the tables might turn again. Standing 110 yards from the back-left hole location and facing a green that slopes away, anything on the green for Sciarretta would have been an accomplishment given the situation.
While the two long putts on #9 and 13 were momentum changers, the shot he played next was the defining shot of the match – a 56* wedge that landed and rolled to a mere six feet from the cup. O’Brien, likely needing to make birdie to extend the match, rolled his forty foot birdie attempt seven feet past the hole, and after his par attempt lipped out, Sciarretta was left holding his first CSGA major championship trophy.
“It feels great, I’m truly honored to be on a list with some of Connecticut’s best golfers,” said a smiling Sciarretta. “I’m just really excited to have won this tournament.”
The win for Sciarretta adds to his already impressive 2015 campaign. He recently won the US Challenge Cup’s Computer Merchant Cup at Wintonbury Hills Golf Course earlier this summer, shooting rounds of 71-70—141 to capture the title by four shots. He also finished second at the World Series of Junior Golf in Providence, Rhode Island after recording a two round total of eight under-par, and qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Both O’Brien and Sciarretta will be representing the Nutmeg state in the 68th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Colleton River in Bluffton, South Carolina, where they hope to become the first player since Jerry Courville, Jr. to win a USGA championship. O’Brien will be heading to Bucknell University this fall to compete on their division I golf team, while Sciarretta will return to Fairfield Prep for his senior season.
The CSGA is back in action July 27th - 29th, when it hosts the Connecticut Open Championship at The Patterson Club in Fairfield, Conn. Admission is free and spectators are encouraged to attend. For more information, visit ConnecticutOpen.com.
About the Connecticut Junior Amateur Championship
The Connecticut Junior Amateur Championship presented by Cobra Puma Golf is open to all Connecticut junior golfers who have not reached their eighteenth birthday by the start of the event. The challenging format tests the state's best junior golfers over a single round of stroke play to determine the low thirty-two match play qualifiers. Two rounds of match play each day culminate in an eighteen-hole final to crown the top junior player in Connecticut.
18-Hole Final Match
Andrew Sciarretta, Brooklawn CC def. Connor O’Brien, Oak Hills Park GC, 2 and 1