Milford’s James teeing off at Northern Junior

Milford’s Benjamin James will be in the field at the Northern Junior Championship. The Northern Junior 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 will be contested over two days, Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, at Great River Golf Club in Milford and is open to amateur boys and girls under the age of 19 who have not entered their first year of college.

James is the highest-ranked boys competitor in the field (ranked #82 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings). Despite only being 15 years of age, it’s hard not to pick James as the hometown favorite to win his first Northern Junior title. He finished fifth in last year’s Northern Junior, advanced to the Round of 32 at this year’s U.S. Junior Amateur, and is also a member of Great River Golf Club where he has won multiple Men’s Club Championships.

About the Course

Designed by renowned architect Tom Fazio, Great River Golf Club opened for play in 2001. Set along the scenic Housatonic River, the course features a mix of parkland and links style holes paired with a challenging set of green complexes that will surely test the elite field of junior competitors. The course is owned by Sacred Heart University, who purchased the property in 2015 and which is home to both the Men’s and Women’s Division I golf teams.

Eligibility

The Northern Junior is open to amateur Boys and Girls who have not reached their 19th birthday before August 8th, 2018, and who have not fully enrolled in their first year of college.

Format

All players will play 18-holes of stroke play on Tuesday, Aug. 7, and Wednesday, Aug. 8, at Great River Golf Club in Milford, Conn. Tee times will run from 7:00 a.m. – 1:50 p.m.both days, and the low 36-hole competitor in the Boys and Girls Championship will be declared the respective Champion. There will be an awards ceremony and trophy presentation following the conclusion of play on Wednesday at approximately 6:00pm.

Who’s Here

The field of 120 players consists of 78 Boys Competitors and 42 Girls Competitors. The average age of the field is 16.3 years of age.

Widely Represented

Twenty-one states, provinces and countries are being represented this week. By country, they are: Canada (Ontario), China (Beijing), Germany (Munich), Hong Kong, Philippines, and United States (Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Vermont). Connecticut has the most players of any state, with a total of 34 players seeking to capture the Northern Junior title in their home state.

Breakdown by Graduation Year

Of the 123 competitors, below is the breakdown by high school graduation year:
– 2017 – 1 player
– 2018 – 19 players
– 2019 – 53 players
– 2020 – 23 players
– 2021 – 15 players
– 2022 – 8 players
– 2023 – 3 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), Liberty National Junior Invitational (Jersey City, N.J.), North and South Junior (Pinehurst, NC) and Northern Amateur (Chesterton, Ind.).

The Girls Champion will receive invitations to the 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, International Junior Masters and Liberty National Junior Invitational, and the Girls Runner-Up will receive an invite to the Liberty National Junior Invitational. Top finishers in the Boys and Girls Championship will also receive AJGA performance stars.

Past Champions

In the seventeen year history of the Northern Junior, only one person has successfully defended their title – Ryan Lee of Berlin, Conn. (2007-08). That streak won’t come to an end this year, as 2017 champions Mark Turner and Madeline Jin were unable to defend their respective titles this year.

The top two ranked Boys and Girls from Connecticut are in the field this week, and are looking to become the first player since Evan Grenus (2013) to win the Northern Junior in their home state. They are (in order of ranking):

Girls
– Maisie Filler, Bloomfield, Conn. (2020)
– Sarah Houle, Sandy Hook, Conn. (2018)

Boys
– Benjamin James, Milford, Conn. (2021)
– Christopher Fosdick, Middlefield, Conn. (2019)

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