Team Connecticut Takes Commanding Lead Following Day 1 of New England Junior Amateur Invitational
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 13, 2018
LONGMEADOW, Massachusetts – It has been six years since Connecticut last won the New England Junior Invitational Championship. Since winning in 2012 at Taconic Golf Club, the last time the Championship Proper was held in the Bay State, the seven member squad has placed second four times and third the other.
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This year, they hope to get back atop the leaderboard and through 36-holes at the this year’s event, which started Monday at Longmeadow Country Club, they have done everything they needed to be victorious again. The Connecticut team combined to shoot an 11-over 348 and currently hold a 17-stroke margin over second place Massachusetts with the final 18 holes slated for Tuesday.
Leading the charge in the best five of seven scoring format for the Constitution State golfers were the likes of junior golfers Ben James (Great River GC), Chris Fosdick (CT PGA Junior Golf Association) and Jackson Fretty (Greenwich CC), all of whom had a share of the top-three spots on the leaderboard following the completion of the first 36-holes of competition. James bested the board, placing first after rounds of 68-70-138 while Fosdick followed suit at even-par 140 after carding 2-under 68 in the morning and 2-over 72 in the afternoon. Fretty finished T3 at 1-over 141 with Massachusetts native Jack Tobin (Marlborough CC), who rebounded from a 3-over 73 in the morning with a round best 68 in the afternoon to jump up the leaderboard into third place.
Despite being one of the youngest competitors in the entire field, this marks the second straight year that James has represented Connecticut at the New England Junior Invitational and his efforts Monday helped carry the team into a great spot entering Tuesday’s second round of competition.
“I think it was really big for our team, knowing that we have a lot of depth,” said James, who will be a freshman at Hampden Hall Country Day School. “Having a 2-under and I know Chris (Fosdick) and Connor (Belcastro), I know our team is going to really post some good scores, so I know 2-under is going to help a lot. For me, individually, getting out to a good start was key.”
After carding a 2-under 68 in the morning round, one of three competitors in the field to card the day low in one of the two rounds Monday, James and the Connecticut squad were able to continue their stellar play in the afternoon to hold their place on the leaderboard, despite rain that impacted the conditions of the course.
“It was a grind out there in the second round,” said James, who tallied six birdies in the morning round to four bogeys, then followed that performance with four birdies and four bogeys in the afternoon. “I started off 2-over through 3 and I wasn’t really that mad and I knew it was going to come, I was really patient out there and it just happened. I had a nice birdie on my last hole, hole 10, a four footer uphill that was pretty big.”
In addition to Ben James, Connecticut received four birdies apiece from both Fosdick and Fretty, while Belcastro chipped in with six birdies of his own. Madison Country Club’s Mathew Doyle rounded out the team scoring for Connecticut with a 5-over 175 performance that sees him T10 on the leaderboard.
As the team nears its first New England Golf Association Junior title since 2012, they hope they can be part of the team that can overcome the struggles past teams have faced in clinching the trophy.
“It would be huge for me, the coaches and the entire team,” said James on the prospect of pulling off the victory Tuesday. “It would be one of the highlights of my year to bring the New England Junior back to Connecticut and I know we’ll be back the year after too.”
In addition to the first day success from Connecticut, team Massachusetts was able to bounce back from a first round slump by jumping two spots in the team total, edging the likes of both Vermont and Rhode Island.
Led by Jack Tobin’s second round 68, Massachusetts bypassed both Rhode Island and Vermont in part to Xavier Marcoux (Nashawtuc CC), who totaled a 6-over 176 to place T12 on the individual leaderboard, plus the efforts Peter Bowie (CC of Wilbraham) and Jared Winiarz (Norton CC), who finished 15 and 16, respectively.
As a team, Vermont placed third at +34, six strokes behind Massachusetts, while Rhode Island (+36), New Hampshire (+67) and Maine (+73) rounded out the scoring.
The third and final round of the 2018 New England Junior Invitational Championship Proper will kick off Tuesday beginning at 8:30 a.m. The final 18-holes will be contested at Longmeadow Country Club before a team and individual champion will be crowned at the completion of the tournament.
For more information, visit NEGAGolf.org