Links: Match Play Bracket
Andrew Franz, 17, of Ridgefield Golf Course and Matthew Bornstein, 17, of Silver Spring Country Club each won their semifinal match Wednesday afternoon to advance to the finals of the 75th Connecticut Junior Amateur. The state’s oldest junior amateur championship is presented by Cobra Puma Golf and Golf on the Green and is being held July 11th – 14th at the 6,423 yard, par 71 Watertown Golf Club.
Franz earned his place in the Junior Amateur finals by winning his semifinal match against Aaron Montgomery of Bulls Bridge Golf Club by a score of 5 and 3, but the eventual margin of victory wasn’t indicative of the challenge he faced on his way to victory. After jumping out to an early 2-up lead, Montgomery won the ninth and tenth holes to square the match heading to the par-4 11th hole.
“It got pretty windy out there so it was hard to go at pins and make birdies,” said Franz. “I got off to a really good start and was one under-par through eight holes, but I missed back-to-back four foot putts that dropped the match back to all-square. I holed a twelve foot putt on #11 for par to win the hole that definitely changed the momentum of the match.”
Indeed, in match play a single shot or putt can change the momentum of the entire match. After winning #11 to go 1-up, he would go on to win the next four holes in a row, playing near-perfect golf and making crucial pars despite the windy conditions. Originally from London, England, Franz is making his first appearance in the final match and is seeking to capture his first CSGA Junior Amateur title. The par-71 layout at Watertown Golf Club presents plenty of opportunities for both birdies and bogies, but Franz has made his way to the finals by limiting his mistakes.
“It’s a pretty good course for match play because you can be pretty aggressive off the tee,” said Franz. “There’s definitely birdies out there but there’s also danger if you miss it in the wrong spots.”
Franz will face fellow Ridgefield, Connecticut resident Matt Bornstein of Silver Spring Country Club, who knocked off Thomas Durkin of Suffield Country Club on his way to the finals. After trailing early in his semifinal match, Bornstein grabbed the lead by winning holes #3, 4 and 5 to jump to a 2-up lead.
“I drove the ball really well yesterday and today and didn’t make any big numbers,” said Bornstein. “I was just mentally really solid out there and didn’t let anything get to me. There’s only one dogleg right, so the course sets up really well for me I think.”
Both Franz and Bornstein are close friends and play golf regularly together and both are making their first appearance in the Connecticut Junior Amateur finals. With a victory, Franz would become the first player from Ridgefield Golf Course to win the Junior Amateur. Bornstein would be just the third player from Silver Spring Country Club to win the title, joining Matt Loftus (2004) and Kevin McNamara (1995).
“We’ve been really good friends for a few years now and it will be pretty cool to play him tomorrow in the finals,” said Franz. “We’ve both been talking about it since seeing we were on opposite sides of the bracket so it’ll be a lot of fun.”
“It’ll be fun to see a familiar face on the other side,” said Bornstein. “We play together four or five times a week with a group of friends but never one-on-one so it will definitely be fun.”
The final match will begin at 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning and live hole-by-hole scoring will be available. For more information and complete coverage, visit CTJunior.com.
Final Match (18-holes)
8:00 a.m. – Andrew Franz, Ridgefield Golf Course vs. Matt Bornstein, Silver Spring Country Club
Andrew Franz, Ridgefield GC def. Aaron Montgomery, Bulls Bridge GC, 5 and 3
Matt Bornstein, Silver Spring CC def. Thomas Durkin, Suffield CC, 4 and 2
Andrew Franz, Ridgefield GC def. Blake Swiggett, Wee Burn CC, 3 and 1
Aaron Montgomery, Bulls Bridge GC def. Abir Singh, Rock Ridge CC, 4 and 3
Thomas Durkin, Suffield CC def. Hunter Ramee, Bulls Bridge GC, 3 and 2
Matt Bornstein, Silver Spring CC def. Alex Aurora, Lyman Orchards GC, 4 and 2
About the Connecticut Junior Amateur Championship
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Junior Amateur Championship presented by Cobra Puma Golf and Golf on the Green 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.