14th Northern Junior Championship concluded today at historic New Haven Country
Club in Hamden Connecticut, as Connor Daly of Bronxville, New York and Alissa
Yang of Norcross, Georgia captured the Boys and Girls Northern Junior titles,
respectively. After a strong southerly wind swept over the course during
Tuesday’s first round, players hoped to find more benign conditions on
Wednesday. Gusty northwest winds, however, protected the golf course from any
low scoring as not a single player in the field posted a round below 70.
the Boys Championship, overnight leader Christian Cavaliere of Katonah, New
York carried a slim one shot lead into the final round over Tim Umphrey of
Northborough, Massachusetts. They were joined in the final group by Noah Peterson
of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Peterson was the first to make a move with
an early birdie at the par 4 1st, but his title hopes were dashed by
a devastating triple bogey 7 on the 4th hole.
began his round with an unsettling double bogey at the 1st but
showed maturity and determination throughout the rest of the final round, still
managing a round of 73. Umphrey had an outside chance to force a playoff with a
long eagle putt at the par 5 18th hole, but settled for a two putt
birdie and a share of second place.
had a much more realistic chance to force a playoff at the 18th,
facing a downhill ten foot birdie putt to tie Daly at even par for the
championship. Daly, playing in the group ahead of Umphrey and Cavaliere, could
only watch from the gallery as the tournament title hung in the balance.
Cavaliere hit a beautiful putt that just slid by the hole on the high side.
Daly, standing alongside his mother, could breathe a sigh of relief. “This was
my first time playing in a tournament with standard bearers and so many
leaderboards, and I really enjoyed it. I like knowing where I stand and what I
need to do on the closing holes,” said Daly.
he had a one shot advantage playing the closing hole, Daly hit his wedge shot
on the green in regulation but about 25 feet past the pin, leaving himself a
slippery two putt. “I definitely had a little adrenaline rushing coming down
18,” admits Daly. “I was feeling pretty amped up.” He converted a five foot par
putt to post his second consecutive round of 70, and post an even par total of
140 for the one shot victory. A rising senior at Bronxville High School in New
York, Daly looks to use his victory at the Northern Junior as a launching pad
into his final year of junior golf, and hopes to play Division I college golf
beginning in the fall of 2016.
and Cavaliere finished in a tie for second place at one over par 141, while
Alex Jamieson of Duxbury, Massachusetts and Will Frodigh of Westwood,
Massachusetts shared fourth place another stroke back at 142. The low round of
the day was even par 70, and was shared by five players: Champion Connor Daly,
Alex Jamieson, Will Frodigh, Justin Clark, and James McKee.
the Girls Championship, overnight leader Hannah Ghelfi of East Falmouth,
Massachusetts began the final round with a three stroke advantage, and with a
string of five pars to start the final round she seems unflappable.
Unfortunately for Ghelfi, things began to unravel late on the front nine and
she slid into a tie for seventh place after a final round 79. As Ghelfi fell
out of contention, Caroline Farber of Providence, Rhode Island made an early
surge up the leaderboard with three birdies in her first eight holes. However,
a back nine score of 41 left Farber in a tie for fourth place with Carrie-Ann
Lee of Hong Kong, China.
down the final stretch on Wednesday afternoon, 2014 Runner-up Phoebe Brinker of
Wilmington, Delaware was trying to exact her revenge and claim her first
Northern Junior title, as was Jennifer Keim of South Yarmouth, Massachusetts.
Keim was the first to post seven over par 147 in the clubhouse, playing her
final six holes in two under par. Next came Brinker, who despite making a few
late bogeys had a chance to catch Yang at six over par with a twelve foot
birdie putt at 18. Similar to Cavaliere’s putt in the Boy’s Championship,
Brinker left her birdie bid hanging on the lip of the cup and posted 147.
in the final group, Alissa Yang quietly stole the show after opening with a
round of 74 on Tuesday and following it up with a brilliant round of 71 on
Wednesday, giving her a two round total of five over par 145. Yang had yet to
make a birdie throughout the tournament standing on the 17th tee
Wednesday afternoon, but a clutch twelve foot putt for birdie on the downhill
par 3 gave her a one shot cushion playing the 18th. She was in great
position after two shots on 18 and knowing she only needed par to win the
title, she delivered an exquisite pitch shot to within two feet of the hole,
granting her another birdie and a two shot victory.
up to the 18th green I really just wanted to hit a good pitch shot.
Making birdie was a nice bonus,” said a smiling Yang. “I’ve never been to
Connecticut before this week but I love it here. It was pretty windy but the
weather is much better here in the summer than in Georgia.” With a successful
first trip to the state of Connecticut and a Northern Junior title on her
resume, Yang will be a junior in high school this fall and hopes to return to
defend her crown in 2016.
year marked the 14th playing of the Northern Junior Championship, an
internationally recognized junior championship conducted in memory of Stan
Trojanowski, who passed away in 2001 due to mesothelioma. The 2015 field
featured players from 18 different states and provinces who had not reached
their 19th birthday or entered college. More information about this year’s
event can be found at NorthernJunior.com.
A sincere thank you to the golf
staff, maintenance crew and members of New Haven Country Club for their
support, and thank you to the countless volunteers and Connecticut State Golf
Association officials who helped to make this year’s Northern Junior a truly
incredible event. Congratulations once again to Connor Daly and Alissa Yang,
champions of the 2015 Northern Junior.