About the Tournament: The Northern Junior Championship is a nationally ranked junior golf tournament that was created in order to provide the highest level of competition for top junior players. The 36-hole stroke play event is contested over two days at New Haven Country Club in Hamden, Connecticut and is open to amateur boys and girls under the age of 19 who have not entered their first year of college. Our goal is to provide the same first class championship experience and red-carpet treatment that the best national events around the country offer.
Eligibility: The Northern Junior is open to amateur Boys and Girls who have not reached their 19th birthday before August 9th, 2017, and who have not fully enrolled in their first year of college.
Format: All players will play 18-holes of stroke play on Tuesday, August 8th and Wednesday, August 9th at New Haven Country Club in Hamden, Conn. Tee times will run from 7:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. both days, and the low 36-hole competitor in the Boys and Girls Championship will be declared the Champion. There will be an awards ceremony and trophy presentation following the conclusion of play on Wednesday at approximately 5:30pm.
Who’s Here: The field of 135 players consists of 96 Boys Competitors and 39 Girls Competitors. The average age of the field is 16.1 years of age.
States Represented: 23 states, provinces and countries are being represented. They are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Singapore, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, China, Canada and Singapore. Connecticut has the most players of any state, with a total of 31 players seeking to capture the Northern Junior title in their home state.
Breakdown by Graduation Year: Of the 135 competitors, below is the breakdown by high school graduation year:
2017 – 30 players
2018 – 37 players
2019 – 40 players
2020 – 19 players
2021 – 5 players
2022 – 4 players
What's at Stake: In addition to national exposure to college coaches across the country, both the Boys and Girls Champion will receive numerous tournament invitations and exemptions. The Boys Champion will receive invites to the International Junior Masters (Aurora, NY), Bobby Chapman Invitational (Spartanburg, SC), Joe Cheves Junior Invitational (Morganton, NC), Liberty National Junior Invitational (Jersey City, N.J.) and North and South Junior (Pinehurst, NC).
The Girls Champion will receive invitations to the Joe Cheves Junior Invitational (Morganton, NC), Liberty National Junior Invitational (Jersey City, N.J.) and North and South Junior (Pinehurst, NC). The Boys Runner-Up will also receive invite to the Bobby Chapman Invitational, Joe Cheves Junior Invitational, International Junior Masters and Liberty National Junior Invitational, and the Girls Runner-Up will receive an invite to the Joe Cheves Junior Invitational and Liberty National Junior Invitational. Top finishers in the Boys and Girls Championship will also receive AJGA performance stars.
Defending Champion: There has only been one player in Northern Junior tournament history to successfully defend their title (Ryan Lee 2007-08), and Bobby Weise of Freehold, New Jersey will be hoping to equal that feat. Weise, who has committed to play golf at the University of Rhode Island this fall, won in a playoff over Angelo Giantsopoulos of Ontario after shooting rounds of 71-69—140. The 2016 Girls Champion, Virginie Ding, is unable to defend her title as she is competing in the Hong Kong Junior Open Championship.
The top four ranked Boys from Connecticut are competing in the 2017 Northern Junior Championship. They are (in order of ranking):
– Christopher Fosdick – Middlefield, Conn. (2019)
– Jackson Fretty – Cos Cob, Conn. (2019)
– Benjamin James – Milford, Conn. (2021)
– Nick Piersall – Portland, Conn. (2017)
Four of the top eight Girls from Connecticut are competing in the 2017 Northern Junior Championship. They are (in order of ranking):
– Katie Dzialga – Greenwich, Conn. (2021)
– Sarah Houle – Sandy Hook, Conn. (2018)
– Emily Cohen – Darien, Conn. (2019)
– Mia Grzywinski – Farmington, Conn. (2019)
Angelo Giantsopoulos of Richmond Hill, Ontario is the highest ranked player in the Boys Championship (#147 in Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings). Giantsopoulos nearly won the Northern Junior last year, losing to eventual champion Bobby Weise on the first playoff hole. Earlier this year, he advanced to the Round of 32 at the U.S. Junior Amateur and finished runner-up in the Ontario Junior Boys Championship.
Caroline Hodge of Larchmont, New York is the highest ranked player in the Girls Championship (#108 in Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings). In addition to winning the Metropolitan PGA Junior Championship last month, she finished third in the stroke play qualifying portion of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship at Boone Valley Golf Club. Her sister, Alice, is also competing in the championship and has recorded five top-5 finishes in national tournaments thus far in 2017.
Longest Commute – Siblings Hiroshi and Yoko Tai have the longest journey of any competitor field – an estimated 9,487 miles as the crow flies from their home country of Singapore. Hiroshi has recorded five top-5 finishes in AJGA events thus far in 2017, while his sister Yoko recently finished 7th at the AJGA Killington Junior Golf Championship.
In addition to those players who gained entry by virtue of previous accomplishments, a total of 17 boys and 7 girls gained entry into the championship through two qualifying sites:
At Oak Hills Park GC, Jaron Leasure (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Carson Bacha (York, Penn.) were the co-medalists for the Boys Championship, and Marissa Broderick (Bayonne, N.J.) and Elizabeth Sammons (Rye, N.Y.) were medalists for the Girls Championship.
At Simsbury Farms GC, Patrick Ryan (Maplewood, N.J.) was the medalist for the Boys Championship and Samantha Bobman (Rye, N.Y.), Michaila Cheung (Toms River, N.J.) and Abby Zambruno (Mount Pleasant, Penn.) were the medalists for the Girls Championship.
There are six pairs of siblings competing in the 2017 Northern Junior Championship:
– Yoko and Hiroshi Tai (Singapore)
– Amanda and Caitlin Tully (Brewster, N.Y.)
– Abby and Olivia Zambruno (Mount Pleasant, Penn.)
– Alice and Caroline Hodge (Larchmont, N.Y.)
– Sathscia and Uttdom Sowinkong (Wallingford, Conn.)
– Marissa and Edmund Broderick (Bayonne, N.J.)
Carson Bacha of York, Penn. is carrying quite a bit of momentum heading into the Northern Junior Championship. In a span of a month, Bacha earned medalist honors at the Oak Hills Park qualifier, won the AJGA Junior All-Star at Talbot, finished runner-up at the Philadelphia Junior PGA Championship, and finished fifth at the Philadelphia PGA’s Precision Pro Open.
For the first time in tournament history, the New Haven CC Junior Club Champion earned an invitation to compete in the championship. Julian Nirmal of Wallingford, Conn. will be competing in his first Northern Junior and hopes to become the first player since Ryan Lee (2008) to win the tournament at their home course.
Austin Rupp of Suffield, Conn. has already picked up a trio of victories to start the 2017 season. He won the Connecticut PGA Junior Championship, the Division III state high school championship, and Ryan T. Lee Junior Open. Rupp secured his spot in the field with his victory at the Ryan T. Lee Junior Open at Timberlin Golf Club, a tournament named in honor of 2007-08 Northern Junior Champion Ryan Lee.
Although the field of 135 players consists of some of the best junior golfers in the country, many of these young men and women have exceptional talents in other fields of interest:
Patrick Kelly (Erie, Penn.) made two hole-in-ones in the span of eight days, the odds of which are approximately 1 in 12 million.
Alexander Gu (Darien, Conn.) was recruited to be a junior cyclist at the age of nine.
Zane Monaghan (Clinton, N.Y.) is a seven-year student of Mandarin Chinese and receive the “Excellence in Mandarin Chinese” award at his school three years in a row.
In addition to being one of the highest ranked players in the field, Matthew Huo (Corona, Calif.) is a blue belt in taekwondo.
Nathan Fierston (West Hartford, Conn.) was the first player in school history to be selected to the all-state team for Ultimate Frisbee.
Aside from winning the Utah State 2A High School Championship last year, Jack Nilsen (Salt Lake City, Utah) hiked The Grand Canyon rim to rim and back, a 24-mile journey.
Emma Shen (Tenafly, N.J.) is an expert violinist and has been playing violin for the past nine years.
Patrick Ryan (Maplewood, N.J.) can solve a Rubik’s cube in under a minute.
Monday, August 7th
9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Official Practice Rounds
Beginning at 5:30 p.m. – Players Welcome Reception, Dinner, Long Drive Contest and Ryan Lee Scholarship Presentation (Complimentary for all participants. Family and friends of participants are invited and encouraged to attend)
Tuesday, August 8th
First Round of Stroke Play
7:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Starting Times (All play will be in threesomes)
Wednesday, August 9th
Second Round of Stroke Play
7:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Starting Times (Players will be re-paired by score, with leaders going off last. All play will be in threesomes.)
5:30 p.m. – Awards Ceremony and Trophy Presentation
Social Media: In addition to full championship coverage on our website at NorthernJunior.com, players and spectators can join the conversation using the hashtag #NorthernJunior.
– Like Us on Facebook at Facebook.com/NorthernJunior
– Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NorthernJunior