Fairfield, Connecticut (August 2, 2023) – The week at the 54th Borck Junior Tournament came to a close on a gorgeous day at The Patterson Club with Henry Graham and Isabella Thomas hoisting the trophy.
“I’m just so happy,” said Henry Graham a rising sophomore at the Brunswick School. “I haven’t won in a really long time so I am super happy to get it done today. It was definitely a grind with 36 holes back-to-back days. I am almost in disbelief. There were some times where I thought I had lost it but I got it done.”
Graham (Greenwich CC) faced Harrison Browne (Great River GC) in the title match and got off to a quick start winning the first two holes to take a lead he would never relinquish.
Browne, a 4&3 winner in the semifinals over Andrew Beauton (Pine Orchard CC), did cut into the deficit with a victory on the par-3 third but throughout the match, he could never pull any closer.
Still leading 1 up after six holes Graham, who defeated Cameron St. Pierre (Newton CC) in 19 holes, extended his lead to 3 up at the turn with hole winnings pars on Nos. 7 and 9. However, Browne would hang tough. The senior to be at Staples High School steadied himself with a tie on the par-4 10th and then won Nos. 11 and 12 to claw his way back into the match.
Graham won the 13th to re-establish a 2-up lead only to have Browne win the ensuing hole. Pars tied the next two holes sending the match to the par-4 17th with Graham clinging to a 1-up advantage.
With a chance to close out the match on the penultimate hole, Graham did just that. He found the fairway off the tee and then hit the green with his second shot. Meanwhile, Browne was in trouble after finding the bunker off the tee and would end up double-bogeying the hole. Graham now with some wiggle room eased his par putt towards the hole leading to a tap-in bogey and a 2&1 victory.
“This win is definitely a huge confidence booster going into the rest of my season and the rest of my junior golf career,” said Graham. “Just to be able to break through and get the win I am so excited and I know now that I can get it done and compete in these big moments.”
In the girls’ division Isabella Thomas, playing in one of her final junior events, faced Lila Reiling (CC of Fairfield) in the title match and thanks to wins on the opening two holes snagged an early 2-up advantage. Thomas (Tashua Knolls GC), a winner in the semifinals 2&1 over Shawna Aurora (EClub of Connecticut), would see her lead trimmed to 1 up on three different occasions but Reiling was never able to pull even in the match.
With Thomas 2 up at the turn following a birdie on No. 8 Reiling, who bested Isabella Hassan (Rolling Hills CC) 4&2 in the semifinals, needed to make a move and she did so early on the back nine winning the par-4 10th hole with a par to bring herself within 1 down. With eight holes remaining, it appeared as if the match would come down to the wire. Thomas however had other ideas. A par won No. 11 and a bogey won the par-3 12th to push the soon to be University of New Haven freshman’s lead to 3 up with just six holes remaining.
Reiling did win No. 14 but Thomas would answer right back draining a 15-footer for par to win the par-3 15th. With control of the match firmly in her grip, Thomas closed out the match 3&1 two holes later on the par-4 17th.
“It really means a lot to me to get this win,” an emotional Thomas said. “I haven’t always been the best so anytime I get a chance to prove myself and to improve and see my score drop and feel good about myself on the course it makes me feel so good about sticking with my gut and continuing to play golf because I was shooting high 80s last year and this year I am shooting lows 80s and the scores really show. It helps me push through. This one was really something special.”
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Borck Junior is one of 20 championships conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association. The CSGA 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.