For those who follow junior golf, the 2018 Connecticut Junior Amateur Watertown Golf Club was testament to how strong state juniors are today. The 2019 championship, once again at Watertown July 8-11, promises the same level of virtuosity.
Leading the field last year were: Chris Fosdick, the state high school open champion; Matt Camel, who had recently won an AJGA event by 10 shots, tying a tournament record; 15-year-old medalist Ben James, a qualifier for last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur, and Justin Mathew, another U.S. Junior Am qualifier.
And none of those guys won.
That honor went to Rowayton’s Connor Belcastro, who defeated Brunswick teammate Camel, 16-year-old Darien star Alexander Gu and 15-year-old Madison star Matt Doyle to take the William A. Salvatore trophy.
All are expected to return in 2019 (ck) to the 78th Connecticut Junior Amateur.
This generation of Connecticut juniors is among the most talented in the state’s history. At the New England Junior Invitational last September, the Connecticut team dominated teams from five other New England states, 17 shots better than runner-up Massachusetts.
Watertown, which dates to the 19th century and occupies land adjacent to the Taft School, is a venue that gives juniors opportunity to score. It is a fair, relatively open track with smallish greens that offer frequent birdie opportunities. The course’s original nine holes were built in 1898, part of the school. Another nine was added in the 1930s and new holes across a state road from the original layout were completed in 1973.
The Connecticut Junior Amateur is open to any junior who has not reached his or her 19th birthday by the start of the event. The low 32 qualifiers after one round of stroke play advance to matches. Two matches per day culminate in an 18-hole final.