New Canaan (July 28, 2020) The first day of match play at the 51st Borck Junior Tournament at the Country Club of New Canaan was full of surprises. Especially on the boys side:
Defending Champion Charlie Duffy was eliminated.
Last year’s runner-up, Ashton Lewis lost in extra holes.
Kyle St. Pierre, the Junior Amateur finalist and Borck co-medalist, lost a late lead and then, in a bizarre finish, lost on the final hole.
Indeed, among the four semi-finalists who will meet tomorrow morning, only Shuttle Meadow Country Club’s Jackson Roman, the seven seed, could have been considered a favorite to advance Tuesday. He defeated New Canaan’s own Ben Loomis in a tight match in the morning and then beat Will Huntington of the Country Club of Fairfield more one-sidedly (4 and 3) in the afternoon.
Tomorrow Roman will meet Will Whittaker of the Club at River Oaks, who used both guile and fortune to finish off St. Pierre after defeating Tyler Donellan in the morning. One down to St. Pierre on 16, Whittaker attempted to drive the par-4 17th green, hit his drive flag high right, pitched to 30 feet and sank the putt from the fringe for birdie, winning the hole when St. Pierre missed his birdie attempt.
And then, after both Whittaker and St. Pierre hit what appeared to be perfect 3-hybrids just right of the fairway, St. Pierre never found his ball and lost, one down, to Whitaker’s par.
“I have no clue,” said a resigned St. Pierre about his tee shot when it was over. He thought it might have disappeared through a drainage grate in the right rough.
In the other semi-final, co-medalist Connor Goode of Glastonbury Hills, who’s having a very consistent summer, advanced decisively in both his matches, first against young Harrison Browne of Rolling Hills Country Club, and then 3 and 2 against Duffy, by birdieing the 12th and 16th holes to turn what had been a tight match his way. Goode made the round of 16 at the Junior Amateur and tomorrow Wednesday will meet Luke Karpiej of the East Hartford Golf Club, who also made match play at Watertown.
On the girls side, things were a bit more predictable.
Defending Champion Sophia Sarrazin advanced easily (as far as the golf went), but fought the near 100-degree heat in her afternoon match against Brooklawn’s Catherine Wallace. She suffered from dehydration early in the match. The match was tied at the 5th hole, but Sarrazin, now hydrating and finding her game, won or tied nine consecutive holes and took the match on the 14th.
Sarrazin, who is left-handed, will meet another lefty, Tashua Knolls’ Jensie Nicholas, the No. 5 seed, who defeated Charlotte Wagner of the Country Club of Fairfield, one up.
In the opposite bracket, Ridgewood Country Club’s Mia Scarpati, the 2019 runner-up to Sarrazin and the 2018 champion, won handily over Julia Bazata of Tamarack Country Club, 7 and 6. She’ll meet Molly Mitchell of host club Country Club of New Canaan, who has been encouraged by caddie and sister Meghan Mitchell, the 2019 Connecticut Women’s Amateur Champion. Mitchell defeated Mia Holbrook of Silver Spring Country Club, 4 and 3. Molly is the last of the Country Club of New Canaan “home team” surviving.
Semi-final matches begin tomorrow at 7:30. Boys and girls 18-hole finals will take place shortly after noon.
Each year, the Borck Memorial Junior Tournament is held in memory of Jay Borck, a young golfer who died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1968 at the age of sixteen. He passed away one week after winning the Brooklawn Junior Championship.