Connecticut State Juniors hoping to reclaim New England golf championship

Connecticut will be trying to reclaim the New England Junior Amateur Championship when the championship begins on Tuesday at Manchester Country Club in Manchester, Vermont.

Massachusetts defeated Connecticut by 15 strokes last year, ending Connecticut’s bid at a three-peat after winning in 2018 and 2019 (2020 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Ben James of Milford did get the individual three-peat, earning medalist laurels for the third time last year.

James ended his junior career ranked No. 1 in the country. Although he is not returning, Connor Goode from Glastonbury will. He placed sixth last year and the 2021 Junior Amateur champ hopes to add a New England title to his resume before he begins his collegiate career at UConn.

Alex Elia of Wilton, the reigning Borck Junior champion and the GameTimeCT State Player of the Year from last fall season, also returns to the team. Joining the duo is Bradley Swaka from Ellington, the GameTimeCT POY from this past spring season; Will Lodge of Darien, who won the Junior Amateur last month; Will Greggware (Conard High, West Hartford); Luke Stennett (Portland) and Elias Kennon (Old Greenwich).

Yvette O’Brien, CC Kaplan and Arabella Lopez will compete for the New England girls team.

“Both our boys and girls teams have good players who have considerable tournament experience and the ability to put up low numbers,” said Mike Moraghan, the executive director of the CSGA. “They all have had success at a statewide and regional level and they are all good kids who love to compete.”

There will be 36 holes of competition on Tuesday, followed by the final round on Wednesday.

Gianchandani to compete in US Women’s Amateur

Ami Gianchandani, who will be entering her senior year for the Yale women’s golf team, will be competing in the 122nd US Women’s Amateur beginning Monday at Chambers Bay at University Place, Washington.

This will be the 10th USGA event for Gianchandani. She competed in the US Women’s Open in June, missing the cut by a single stroke.

A captain for the Elis and the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, Gianchandani competed in the US Junior four times. This is her third US Women’s Amateur, the other two times (2019-20) she did not qualify for match play.

After two rounds of stroke play, the top 64 competitors will advance to match play on Wednesday. The 36-hole final will be held Aug. 14.

CSGA renames award

The CSGA’s annual Distinguished Club Award has been renamed in honor of Walter “Bud” Smith, the former longtime owner of Orange Hills CC, who died in January at 97.

Orange Hills CC held a Celebration of Life on July 30. That was where the CSGA let the club know of the change.

“Such an honor,” said Judy Smith, Bud’s daughter and the general manager at Orange Hills CC.

Bud Smith took over ownership of the course in the mid-1950s.

“Together with his family, Bud fostered a uniquely welcoming atmosphere at Orange Hills. His name was synonymous with his club and all that its dedicated players hold dear,” Moraghan said. “He was an inspiration, and for any club striving for excellence, Bud Smith’s example is a good one to follow. Naming our Distinguished Club Award for Bud Smith sets a high bar for those under consideration and ensures that Bud’s legacy will endure.”

joseph[email protected]; @nhrJoeMorelli

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