(November 9, 2023) – Elizabeth Janangelo Caron has done a little bit of everything in golf. She has won at the junior level, the local amateur level, the elite amateur level, and the professional level. She has represented her country and traveled the world playing golf, and now she works in the game that has given her so much.
Her lifetime of excellence and achievements in golf will be recognized on December 7, 2023 with her induction into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame during a ceremony at TPC River Highlands. The induction will take place as part of the Connecticut State Golf Association’s 2023 Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner.
“It is such an honor to have my name with the golf greats in Connecticut,” said Caron. “When I was 13 I went to my first annual meeting and I just idolized everyone who was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame, so to now be in that position is really special and I am so appreciative of the honor.”
Growing up in West Hartford, Caron began playing golf when she was just three years old thanks to her older brother John. Quickly hooked on the game, it wasn’t long before the two spent their summers at Rockledge Golf Club playing 36 holes a day with just a slice of pizza at the turn to hold them over.
“I was a tomboy so anything he did I wanted to do,” Caron said. “He enjoyed golf and I enjoyed being around him. He was my everything, everyone looks up to their big brother and I wanted to be with him and I was lucky to be able to look up to him as a role model. I must not have been too annoying because he would drag me around and we would play inter clubs at Rockledge when I got a little bit older.”
Success from a young age quickly led Caron to some of the biggest stages in the state. In 1997 at 13 years old Caron became at the time the youngest player to win the Connecticut Women’s Amateur. Playing at Simsbury Farms Golf Course, Caron held the lead after the second round and went to bed, “so nervous.” However, when Caron woke up the next morning everyone in the house was yelling, ‘You won, you won, they canceled the tournament,’ because it got rained out that day so all of a sudden I had won the golf tournament. So, we ran over to Simsbury Farms and the room was filled with people and it was an unbelievable experience,” explained Caron.
The victory at the 1997 Connecticut Women’s Amateur was the first of five in a row, a run that was capped by a 21-shot victory in 2001 at Hunter Golf Club. Included in her run was a 1999 victory at her home course of Rockledge GC.
“It is hard to win on your home course, there is so much pressure, but it was fun to be able to do that where I grew up,” said Caron. “That was very, very special. I won at Simsbury Farms, Rockledge, and Golf Club of Avon and all of these courses have a special place in my heart at different points in my life.”
Her dominance at the state level paved the way for her success at the national level.
By the time Caron had won the 2001 Connecticut Women’s Amateur following her junior year at Conard High School she had already committed to Duke University and was the top-ranked junior player in the country.
“Duke is No.1 in the country and has tremendous academics, which is really important to me,” a 17-year-old Caron told the Hartford Courant in March of 2001 after she committed. “I still have to get in academically, but I’m confident I can do that. And I know I’m going to have to work hard to make the team because all six of their players are ranked in the top 40 in the country.”
In addition to her stellar record in Connecticut Caron entered college with eight American Junior Golf Association wins under her belt including two majors – the 2001 Betsy Rawls Junior Girls Championship, and the 2001 Polo Junior Classic. She also played in the 2000 U.S. Women’s Open and reached the semifinals and quarterfinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior. For her spectacular play she won numerous awards including being named a two-time Polo Golf First Team All-American, and the 2001 Polo Golf Girls Junior Player of the Year.
Liz Janangelo Caron’s enormous success didn’t stop when she arrived in Durham, North Carolina in the fall of 2002. She won seven individual titles as a Blue Devil, which still ranks second on Duke’s all-time career wins list, and was part of the 2005 and 2006 National Championship winning teams. As a sophomore she was named ACC Player of the Year, and in her junior year she set an NCAA scoring record with a 9-under 62 at the ACC/SEC Challenge.
“Playing at Duke was probably the pinnacle of my golf career,” Caron stated. “I was very proud to be a part of a university that was so exceptional academically and to be part of the golf team that was always number one. It was definitely the highlight of my golf career. I loved being there. It was just fun to be a part of a team.”
During that same time frame back in Connecticut Caron won four consecutive Connecticut Women’s Open titles beginning with a win in 2003 at Fox Hopyard Golf Club and ending in 2006 with a victory at Greenwich Country Club. The same year Caron won her first Connecticut Women’s Open, she made the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open, and the following year she teamed with future U.S. Women’s Open winners Paula Creamer, Brittany Lang, and Michelle Wie in leading the United States to victory in the 2004 Curtis Cup.
Immediately eligible to play on the Futures Tour following her graduation from Duke in 2006, Caron turned professional and quickly had success. She played in seven events making the cut six times while also qualifying for her third of five U.S. Women’s Open appearances. In 2007 Caron was even better winning twice, first at the Greater Tampa Duramed FUTURES Classic, and then at the Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City Championship.
“I won one of my first events on the Futures Tour [now the Epson Tour]. It was shortly after finishing my college career and golf was pretty easy,” said Caron. “I am thinking that is pretty good. Then I won my second event on tour [a short time later] so it gave me the confidence that you can do it because golf is based so much in confidence and believing in yourself so it was nice to win that early.”
Caron then capped her 2007 season by making her way through LPGA Tour qualifying school and earning her card for the 2008 season. Two years later Caron would once again make her way through LPGA Tour qualifying school and earn her card for the 2010 season.
Beginning in 2010 Caron also began to transition to life after professional golf as she took a job as a teaching instructor at Rockrimmon Country Club in Stamford.
“I don’t remember the timing but I met Jason and we got married and he was playing professionally as well, and we were like you know what, let’s do something else,” Caron said. “I thought there were a few things I could do but working in golf as a professional and teaching golf was the most logical.”
From Rockrimmon CC she moved to the Golf Club of Purchase in New York before joining The Mill River Club on Long Island in 2014 where her husband Jason Caron is the head professional. It is there that they work and live along with their two daughters, Caroline (10) and Julia (7).
Through it all Caron, who still plays in the Connecticut Women’s Open each year and hopes to have her daughter Caroline as her caddie next year, never forgot how her journey in golf began.
“Connecticut golf set the foundation for everything in my golf career,” Caron said. “If it wasn’t for the Connecticut Women’s Open and having that platform to play on I wouldn’t have had the career that I had because that sort of set everything off and I skyrocketed from there. That really helped to elevate my career.”
Information for this article was provided by the Hartford Courant, Hearst Media, Duke Athletics
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.