Links: Match Play Bracket
Connor O’Brien, 17, of Oak Hills Park Golf Course and Andrew Sciarretta, 17, of Brooklawn Country Club each won their semifinal match Wednesday afternoon to advance to the finals of the 74th Connecticut Junior Amateur. The championship is being conducted July 6th - 9th on the par-71, 6,423 yard course at Watertown Golf Club in Watertown, Connecticut.
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.
O’Brien earned his place in the Junior Amateur finals by winning his semifinal match in decisive fashion. He first outlasted Aaron Montgomery of Bulls Bridge Golf Club in his morning quarterfinal match, and then faced off with John Aitken of Connecticut National Golf Club in the afternoon semifinal showdown. The 2013 Junior Amateur champion proved why he is one of the top junior players in the state by making birdie the first three holes and never looking back, eventually posting a convincing 7 and 6 victory.
O’Brien will begin the final match hoping to be just the ninth player to win the Junior Amateur more than once. The last player to accomplish that feat was Geoffrey Walker of the CC of Farmington, who won his pair of titles in 1993 and 1994. Earlier this spring, O’Brien added to his already impressive resume by qualifying for the U.S. Junior Amateur at Wintonbury Hills Golf Course, claiming co-medalist honors with rounds of 69-69—138.
Quite the opposite, Sciarretta needed all eighteen holes to successfully advance to the finals. In his morning quarterfinal match, Sciarretta narrowly edged Max Theodorakis of Brooklawn CC, the 2014 Junior Amateur finalist, by a score of 1-up with a birdie on the final hole. With the victory in his morning match, Sciarretta advanced to his first Junior Amateur semifinals, and faced a worthy opponent in Michael VanDerLaan of the CC of Waterbury.
After quickly falling to 3-down after seven holes, Sciarretta clawed his way back, winning five of the next seven holes to take a 1-up lead with three holes to go. However, after narrowly missing a pair of chances on the 16th and 17th holes, it looked like the match might be headed for extra holes. With VanDerLaan safely on the 18th green, Sciarretta found himself in the right rough behind a tree, and proceeded to hit the shot of the tournament – a high wedge that hit the flagstick and settled a mere two feet from the hole – good enough for a 2-up victory and a place in the final match.
Sciarretta is coming off the biggest win of his junior career. He won the US Challenge Cup 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.
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. - Connor O’Brien, Oak Hills Park GC vs. Andrew Sciarretta, Brooklawn CC
Connor O’Brien, Oak Hills Park GC def. John Aitken, Connecticut National GC, 7 and 6
Andrew Sciarretta, Brooklawn CC def. Michael VanDerLaan, CC of Waterbury, 2-up
Connor O’Brien, Oak Hills Park GC def. Chandler Morris, CC of Waterbury, 2 and 1
John Aitken, Connecticut National GC def. Tim Rotermund, Madison CC, 2 and 1
Andrew Sciarretta, Brooklawn CC def. Max Theodorakis, Ridgewood CC, 1-up
Michael VanDerLaan, CC of Waterbury def. Eric Ganshaw, Tamarack CC, 3 and 2