Hartford (July 14). Though there was no catching the Philippines’ Yuka Saso in the PGA Girls Junior Championship at Keney Park in Hartford July 9-12, Connecticut girls gave the state a lot to cheer about.
Connecticut boys hope to do some cheering of their own when the PGA Boys Junior takes place at Keney July 30-August 2.
Maisie Filler of Bloomfield made the top 20 in the PGA Girls Junior and led local entrants with 275, T16. “Everyone here is just so talented,” she told the Hartford Courant. “You really just have to play your best.”
Filler did that with an especially strong finish, shooting 67-68 in the final two rounds.
She’s had that kind of summer. She’ll play the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship July 22-27 at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wisc., having medaled in local qualifying in Florida, where she’sa senior at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach. Filler, 17, who played at Hartford Golf Club as a kid, will play at the University of Florida when she graduates, following in the college-golf ootsteps of big sister Nathalie, who played at Delaware and is a teaching professional at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Filler was one of four Connecticut girls to make the cut at Keney.
Katie Dzialga of Greenwich shot 281 and finished T33. She also broke par, 70, during the championship, shooting 69 on a windy Thursday when many scores soared.
Julia Kashimura of Watertown shot 71-71-76-72-290 to tie 64th.
Sophia Sarrazin of Westport’s Staples High School, who shot 70 in the opening round, slipped in rounds three and four and finished with 300, 75th. But Sarrazin, 14, has had a good summer, winning an AJGA event early in the month. She’ll play in the Borck Junior at Brooklawn July 29-31, a very competitive field of golfers from the Fairfield County, where the eight top girls and 16 boys after one round of stroke play will compete in matches. Ridgewood’s Mia Scarpati, 15, won it last year and is expected to defend.
Alex Lapple of Ridgewood, who’s also qualified to make the U.S. Girls’ Junior—for the second consecutive year—made the field at Keney but missed the cut.
There was one other Connecticut connection. Phoebe Brinker, who shared medalist honors with champion Saso and Sara Im at 65, finished 13th. Brinker, who will play at Duke, is the niece of PGA President Suzy Whaley, who was on hand Friday to present the trophy.
“Phoebe called me right when she finished [the first round],” Whaley said. “I told her she could celebrate for a half-hour and then she needed to go putt.”
When the Boys version of the national PGA Junior kicks of July 30 at Keney, Connecticut will again be well represented.
Ben James, who won the 78th Connecticut Junior Amateur this month and the AJGA Killington Junior Championship just before it, will lead a strong field of Connecticut boys. Chris Fosdick of Middletown, CIAC Division I individual champion and medalist at the Junior, will play. Alex Gu of Darien, who won the 2019 CIAC Open Championship and made match play at the Junior will compete. So will Alex Aurora, second to Gu in the Open, and Jeremy Yun of Old Saybrook.