MANCHESTER, Vermont - After getting off to a blistering start at the New England Junior Amateur Championship on Tuesday, Team Connecticut never looked back as it raced out to a double-digit lead in both the Boys and Girls Divisions.
Connecticut finished Rounds 1 and 2 in the Boys Division at 15-under, fueled by a 14-under team score during the first round, which is 31 strokes ahead of second-place Massachusetts. In the Girls Division, Connecticut logged a 1-under team score, 11 strokes ahead of Massachusetts, which also sits in second in the girls' team competition. The Connecticut team was the only team to finish under par in either division.
Connecticut also boasts the individual leaders in both divisions: Will Lodge and Bradley Sawka in the Boys Division, who both finished with a 6-under 138, and Arabella Lopez in the Girls Division, who carded a 3-under 141.
Connecticut's early lead was thanks to strong morning performances from Lodge and Sawka, who shot a 6-under 66 and 5-under 67, respectively, during Round 1. With a 3-under 69 from Elias Kennon and a 1-under 71 from Will Gregware, the Constitution State's representatives only had to count one score above par in their Round 1 score. It was much of the same in the Girls Division, for which the morning round score included a 4-under 68 from Lopez and a 1-under 71 from Yvette O'Brien.
Connecticut finished the second round with a three scores at or below par in the Boys Division, including a 2-under 70 from Luke Stennett, and a 4-over total in the Girls Division.
Close behind Connecticut is Massachusetts, which captured last year's team titles in both divisions. On Tuesday, the Bay State team finished with a 16-over in the Boys Division and a 10-over in the Girls Division. Leading the way were Morgan Smith and Ryan Scollins, who both posted a 36-hole score of 1-under 143.
The rest of the field isn't far behind Massachusetts in either division, however. In the boys' team competition, Maine finished just two strokes back largely thanks to a 5-under 139 finish from Bennett Berg and a 4-under 140 from Elliot Spaulding. In the girls' team competition, Rhode Island is knocking on the door with just a three-stroke deficit to reach second place. Rhode Island's Olivia Williams finished fourth individually with a 6-over 150, and Kylie Eaton was one stroke back at 151.
Connecticut and Massachusetts both have a championship-leading 18 divisional titles at the New England Junior Amateur, so a win by Connecticut would break the tie. A win in the Girls Division would also be the first for Connecticut in the girls' competition, which was first introduced at the championship in 2019.