(June 29, 2021) - The 80th edition of the Connecticut Junior Amateur is scheduled to be played at Watertown Golf Club from July 6-9th. Headlining the field will be defending champion Matt Doyle and last year’s runner-up Kyle St. Pierre.
One year ago, at Watertown GC with Doyle leading 2 up as play reached the 14th hole St. Pierre applied some pressure by rolling in a 15-foot birdie putt and seemed poised to cut into the deficit. However, Doyle responded in championship fashion by converting a 15-foot birdie putt of his own to maintain his 2 up advantage. Doyle closed out his 2&1 victory three holes later.
“I remember walking off the [final] green and being able to embrace my parents with the relief that I finally did it,” Doyle said looking back at his win.
Set to begin his freshman year on the Elon University golf team in the fall, Doyle recently completed his senior season at Daniel Hand High School by earning medalist honors and leading the Tigers to the Boys Division II state title.
In recent months Doyle has had success in American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) events twice earning top-three finishes, first at the Junior Orange Bowl in early January and then at the Sung Hyun Park Junior Championship in April. Doyle is currently the 58th ranked player in the AJGA Boys Rankings.
However, despite all his travels in recent months and his quickly approaching college career Doyle is fully locked in on getting one final chance to compete in the Connecticut Junior Amateur. “I love the Connecticut Junior Amateur because of how well run it is and the memories that are made,” Doyle said. “You get to play against all of the kids that you grew up playing golf tournaments with and some of your best friends that you’ve made playing golf.”
In order to become the first repeat champion since Geoffrey Walker in 1993 and 1994 Doyle will once again have to conquer Watertown GC, the host course for the 69th time. Watertown GC hosted the Connecticut Junior Amateur for the first time in 1951 and has hosted the event every year since 1979.
I think it is an incredible honor [to host the Connecticut Junior Amateur],” Watertown GC head professional Peter Seaman said. “It is a tradition, it means a lot to our members and many of our members come out and watch. It is just great to see some of the young talent coming up in Connecticut and having them play at our club.”
The four day tournament begins with a round of stroke play qualifying on Tuesday followed by three days of match play. On Wednesday match play begins with the Round of 32 and 16, followed by the quarterfinals and semifinals on Thursday, and the 18-hole championship match on Friday.
For the event Watertown GC, a par-71 layout, will play at roughly 6,400 yards. “Most of the holes are fairly straightforward,” Seaman said. “But there are a few risk reward holes.”
The first being the par-4 eighth. If players take enough off the corner they will be left with just 100 yards into the green. Similarly on the par-4 11th players can play to the middle of the fairway or they can try to fly the trees along the right side of the fairway. If successful they will have a pitch shot into the green. Players will also be able to make a move on the course's three gettable par-5s.
“Watertown GC is a fantastic golf course,” Doyle said. “The staff always has it in great condition and the layout makes for some interesting decision making which I like, especially for match play.”
With distance not too much of a factor the course's main defense comes around the greens. “I would say probably the course's defense is its green complexes. Some of them have unusual undulations and depending on where the hole locations are they can be difficult,” said Seaman.
Play at the 80th Connecticut Junior Amateur will begin on Tuesday morning with the top 32 players advancing to match play on Tuesday.
Players to Watch:
Jack Bosworth: Bosworth will look to make it five straight match play appearances this year. Last year Bosworth made his longest run reaching the semifinals. Bosworth reached match play at the 2021 Connecticut Amateur.
Ben Boyd: Last year as the 29-seed Boyd made a run to the quarterfinals before falling to the eventual champion.
Cody Brew: A year ago Cody Brew had an impressive showing at Watertown GC making it to the quarterfinals.
Garrett Brown: The final player to make it into match play last year Brown won his first match before falling in the Round of 16. The 18-year-old qualified for the 2021 Connecticut Amateur.
Brett Chodos: Anytime you win an event at the difficult Black Hall Club people take notice. Chodos fired a 2-under 69 to capture the CIAC Boys Open Division championship at the beginning of June.
Tyler Donnellan: Donnellan has reached match place twice. He won a match in 2018 making it to the Round of 16.
Matt Doyle: Before winning the title last year Doyle had reached the final before falling to Connor Belcastro in 2018. Overall, Doyle has reached match play four consecutive years.
Charlie Duffy: In 2019 Duffy won the Borck Junior Memorial.
John Guerrera: A quarterfinalist in 2019, Guerrera has reached match play each of the last two years.
Elias Kennon: The nine-seed last year Kennon earned two top-10 finishes in AJGA events last August.
Jacob Lindsay: In 2019 Lindsay reached match play at the Connecticut Junior Amateur. He finished T12 at the AJGA’s Junior Golf Hub Championship presented by the John D. Mineck Foundation last year.
Will Lodge: In 2019 Lodge earned a T6 finish at the Connecticut Junior PGA Championship. Last year he recorded two top-five finishes in AJGA events.
Chris Pieper: It has already been a strong year for Pieper. He has twice earned medalist honors in qualifiers first when he punched his ticket into the Russell C. Palmer Cup and again when he snagged a spot in U.S. Open Final Qualifying. Pieper reached match play at the Connecticut Amateur this year. Each of the last two years Pieper has reached match play at the Junior Amateur but both times he has failed to move on. This year he will look to improve on his previous finishes.
Jackson Roman: The 2020 Borck Junior Memorial winner was recently the medalist at Quinnatisset Country Club in 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur qualifying. Roman has reached match play five straight times at the Connecticut Junior Amateur and last year he made his deepest run reaching the quarterfinals.
Bradley Sawka: Last year Sawka made it to match play at the Connecticut Junior Amateur for the first time. Earlier this year he competed in the 2021 Connecticut Amateur.
Kyle St. Pierre: The runner-up last year St. Pierre has played in both the Russell C. Palmer Cup and the Connecticut Amateur this season.
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut Junior Amateur is one of 19 championships conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association. The CSGA functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.