(Ben James fired 68-70 to claim the New England Junior individual title)
August 14, 2018: With Ben James, Chris Fosdick and Jackson Fretty leading the way, Connecticut entered the final day of the 2018 New England Golf Association Junior Invitational owning a 17-stroke advantage over Massachusetts. That lead grew to 22 with 7 holes still to play when torrential rain forced a suspension of play and the eventual cancellation of Tuesday’s final round at Longmeadow Country Club. As a result, Monday’s 36-hole round scores were used to determine this year’s champion in both the team and individual standings.
For the first time since 2012, the team from the Connecticut State Golf Association were crowned champions, finishing with a two-round score of 11-over 711 in the best five of seven scoring format. With the victory, Team Connecticut picked up their record 16th title since the tournament began in 1967.
After Massachusetts, Vermont placed third in the championship, followed by Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.
Led by medalist Ben James (Great River GC), who finished the 36-hole round at 2-under 138, Team Connecticut saw four of its five scorers place amongst the top-10 on the individual board, including tournament runner-up Chris Fosdick (CT PGA Junior Golf Association), T3 finisher Jackson Fretty (Greenwich CC) and T10 finisher Connor Belcastro (CSGA Club for Schools). Matthew Doyle, of Madison Country Club, placed 14 at 7-over 147 in two rounds to finalize the scores for the Constitution State squad.
“It means a lot for me. This is a big tournament for my teammates and me to win,” said James Tuesday afternoon.
After advancing to the U.S. Junior Amateur Round of 32 and winning the Northern Junior, the Hampden Hall Country Day School freshman James said this victory stands out because of the top-talent that he had to face from each of the six New England states to come out on top.
James became the first Connecticut player to capture the individual title since Brian Carlson in 2013. Carlson also won in 2012 when Connecticut claimed the team title.
“Ben is very talented and mature beyond his years,” said CSGA Executive Director, Mike Moraghan who along with Junior Committee Chairman Chuck Claffey served as coach of the team. “But this was really a complete team effort. Both Alexander Gu and Justin Mathew were playing well today when play was stopped, and that’s what you need in this event – seven strong players all pushing each other and encouraging each other.”