The 77th playing of the Connecticut Junior Amateur Championship will take place July 9-12 at Watertown Golf Club in Watertown. The Junior Amateur, presented by Cobra Puma Golf and Golf on the Green, is open to all Connecticut junior golfers with handicaps of 15 or less who have not reached their nineteenth birthday by the start of the event.
The format comprises a single round of stroke play followed by match play among the thirty-two lowest stroke-play qualifiers. Two rounds of match play each day culminate in an eighteen-hole final.
The Launching Pad
First played in 1937, the Junior Amateur has been the launching pad for some of the most outstanding golfers in Connecticut’s history. Among them are four Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame members: Artie Williams of Fairfield, James Healey of Hartford, Dick Siderowf of Westport and Jeff Hedden of New London. Together they represent some 25 Connecticut major titles and, just as important, enduring leadership within the CSGA.
Off to a Strong 2018 Start
Besides Defending Champion Will Wilson, players to watch this year based on early in-and-out-of-state performances: Tyler Donnellan of Riverside, who finished T6 this spring at the AJGA Preview tournament in Maryland; Thomas Dallahan of Ellington, T6 in the Challenge Cup Invitational in Massachusetts, seventh in the IMG Worlds Qualifier and seventh at the Computer Merchant Cup at Wintonbury Hills; Alexander Gu of Darien, T10 in the IMG Worlds Qualifier, third in the D1 State Championships, and T10 in the CIAC State Open; Alex Aurora of Hamden, who was T13 in the Challenge Cup at Old Marsh Country Club, T3 in the Liberty National Junior Invitational Qualifier, T5 in the D1 State Championship and T14 in the CIAC Open. Wilson, Gu and Fosdick were on the CSGA New England Junior team in 2017. Ben James, also in the field, played on the team in 2016 as a 13-year-old. Blake Swiggett of Wee Burn Country Club
Colin Cusa of Longshore Golf Club are other players to watch.
Cream of the High School Crop
This year’s field includes 12 of the top 17 finishers in the state Division 1 CIAC Championship (below). These include Chris Fosdick, the Xavier junior who was runner-up in the Division 1 championship in early June and who won the CIAC’s inaugural Open Championship later that month. Top finishers in D2 and D3 championships will also compete.
(CT Junior Am participants in bold)
CIAC Division1 Individual Championship
1. Jackson Fretty, Greenwich
2. Chris Fosdick, Xavier
T3. Alexander Gu, Darien
T3. Benjamin Ropiak, Greenwich
T5. Luke Carroll, Conard
T5. Matthew Chorches, Conard
T5. William Mallek, Fairfield Prep
T5. Alexander Aurora, Hamden
9. Calvin Smith, Darien
T10. Kyle St. Pierre, Shelton
T10. Cameron Hosack, Glastonbury
T10. Will Wilson, Darien
T10. James Bosworth, Simsbury
T14. John Bosworth, Simsbury
T14. William Nail, Greenwich
T14. Kevin McDonough, Simsbury
T14. Thomas Dallahan, Simsbury
CIAC D2 Individual Championship
1. Michael Hanratty, Farmington
T2 Matthew Doyle, Madison
T2 Cole Hahn, Avon
T2 Jacob Lindsay, Berlin
T5 Tyler Hahn, Avon
CIAC D3 Individual Championship
1. Tyler Woodward, Coginchaug
T2 Max Bos, Tolland
T2 Justin Mathew, Rocky Hill
T4 Sean Dowd, Granby Memorial
T4 Kenny D’Attilio, East Catholic
6 Jakob DeBroff, St. Joseph
T9 Michael Walling, East Catholic
Connecticut Open Qualifiers
Two members of the Junior Amateur field—Kyle St. Pierre of Shelton and Michael Hanratty of Farmington Woods Golf Club—have qualified for the Connecticut Open Championship, which takes at New Haven Country Club July 30 to August 1. St. Pierre just completed his freshman year at Shelton High School.
U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifiers
Rocky Hill’s Justin Mathew of the Connecticut PGA Junior Golf Association and Milford’s Ben James of Great River Golf Club have both qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., July 16-21. (Jack Boatwright of Brooklawn Country Club is an alternate). All have already had success this year. James won the Computer Merchant Cup at Wintonbury Hills Golf Course in June with rounds of 68-65. Mathew placed fourth. Boatwright was third in the CIAC Open Championship.
Sons of PGA Professionals:
Four entrants in the 2018 field are sons of PGA Professionals: Bryan McLennan (son of Stan) of Suffield Country Club; Owen Ramee (son of Paul) of Bulls Bridge Golf Club; Kyle St.Pierre (son of James) of Newtown Country Club, and Carson Sparks (son of Robert) of Fairview Farm Golf Club.
The Brothers Bosworth, Hahn and Walling
Of the four participants from Hop Meadow Country Club in Simsbury, two are bothers: James and John Bosworth. The Bosworths finished T10 and T14, respectively, in the state Division1 Championship. Cole and Tyler Hahn of the Golf Club of Avon finished T2 and T5 in the D2 championship, with Tyler finishing runner-up in the inaugural CIAC Open. Jake and Michael Walling of Indian Hill Country Club are also in the field. Michael was T9 in the D3 championship.
A Wee Burn, a Long List of Entrants
Besides Defending Champion Will Wilson, Wee Burn Country Club has five other competitors in this year’s Junior Amateur: Jackson Bell, Sam Ives, Grant Noble, Calvin Smith and Blake Swiggett.
Echoes of 2017
Two of the 2017 Junior Amateur semi-finalists, four of its quarterfinalists, eight of the Round of 16 and 16 of the 32 will compete again this year. Besides Defending Champ Wilson, these include 2017 semi-finalist Billy Nail of the Millbrook Club, quarterfinalists Tommy Dallahan of Hop Meadow Country Club and Colin Cusa of Longshore Golf Club, as well Round of 16 competitors James Bosworth of Hop Meadow, Blake Swiggett of Wee Burn and Jack Maguire of the CSGA Club for Schools.
Watertown Golf Club
The course at Watertown in Litchfield County pre-dates the CSGA by a year. The club itself dates to 1915. The original nine holes was built on the property of Howard Taft, founder of the Taft School.The club added nine more, designed by Bill Robinson, in 1931 and another nine, by Geoffrey Cornish, in 1973. At that point the original nine was given to the Taft School for its athletic fields. This is a straightforward golf course with several demanding short par 4s, including the sharp dogleg-left eighth, where two ponds along the left side of the hole test those who want to attack the hole and cut off distance. With one or two exceptions, every green can be approached from the front along run-up areas that typify Watertown. Greens are often raised, sometime bowled, and almost always firm. A strong, fair test of golf.