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Qualifying Round Scoring - Boys' Division - Girls' Division
Match Play Brackets - Championship Division
Match Play Final Results- Championship Division
By Paul Kenyon
PAWTUCKET _ Patrick Welch put his name in the RIGA record books on Thursday with a long and highly successful two-round performance in the association’s Junior Amateur at Pawtucket Country Club.
First, Welch turned in the best round of the week, going 3-under for 17 holes, as he knocked off Davis Chatfield, the defending champion in this event and the reigning State Amateur champ, 2 and 1 in the semifinals. Then he came out after lunch, birdied two of the first three holes to take a quick lead against Joe Tucker, and went on to a 4-and-2 decision in the title match.
The title is the third for Welch in the Juniors. He is the fourth player to win three titles in the event’s 95-year history, the first not to do it consecutively. Tom Cunningham did it in 1954-56, Brad Faxon from 1976-78 and Brad Valois from 2002-04. Welch has his titles in 2013, 2014 and now 2016.
The new girls’ champion has a chance to win three in a row, too. Allison Paik, a 14-year-old who will enter ninth grade at The Wheeler School in a few weeks, rallied from 2-down with tremendous play of her own to beat Prout All-Stater Addy Douglas, 4 and 3. Douglas was 2-up through seven before Paik won the next six holes in a row with four pars and two birdies.
While Paik is just beginning to win titles, Welch has been doing it for a while. Rarely, if ever, though has he played any better than he did in the two rounds on Thursday.
The Welch-Davis Chatfield semifinal was the lowest scoring match of the tournament. The two good friends went at each other with terrific play before Welch came away with the victory.
``It was fun,’’ Chatfield said with a smile after the loss. ``We had one bogey between us, Patrick made it on the second.’’
Chatfield was 1-under for the match and never made a bogey, but lost because Welch birdied 4, 5, 11 and 15 and was 3-under for the 17 holes played.
``We played last year and I won 2 and 1. This time he won 2 and 1,’’ Chatfield pointed out.
Welch, who made history earlier this year when he competed in both golf and baseball for his Classical High team in the same spring season, kept it going in the title match. Playing baseball obviously did not affect his golf game.
``I’m glad I played baseball,’’ he said. He conceded it made for a hectic schedule while school was in session, to the point where he is not sure he will be able to do it again. Winning the juniors for a third time is satisfying.
``I’m really happy about it and the way I did it, having my family watching made it even better,’’ he said. His family included his younger sister, Emma, who caddied for him in the tournament, the first time she has ever done that.
Welch was 1-under for the 16 holes he needed against Tucker in the final. Tucker, a Hendricken star, hung in and was within two holes through 12, but Welch kept running off pars until he had the victory.
Tucker beat his Hendricken teammate Colin Sutyla, the tournament medalist, 2 and 1 in the other morning semifinal.
In the girls’ semifinals, Douglas edged Courtney Breen, 1 up, in a contest that saw nine leads changes and the players never more than one hole apart. Paik and Lauren Dohoney were even through seven before Paik won five of the next six holes for a 5 and 4 victory.
Paik put on an even more impressive show in the final. Douglas was 2-up going to the eighth tee. Paik then ran off four pars and two birdies in the next six holes, winning all of them on the way to a 4-and-3 decision.
``I knew there were a lot of holes left so I had to just keep grinding,’’ Paik said of her early deficit against Douglas.
James Burke Jr. of Potowomut won the first division title, 3 and 2, over Stephen Vye of Green Valley and Christian Sorenson of Glocester edged Peter Kazounis of Crestwood, 1 up, in the second division.
Welch, Tucker and Chatfield will be joined on the Rhode Island team for the New England Junior Team Championship in New Hampshire in two weeks along with Jesse Boog, Ryan Malloy, Colin Sutyla and Sean Irons. Welch, Tucker, Chatfield and Boog all were members of the team that won the title for Rhode Island last year.
Welch, Chatfield and Interscholastic League champions Caroline Farber and Will Dickson all will be competing in the national PGA Junior Championship to be held next week at Wannamoisett.
By Paul Kenyon
PAWTUCKET _ When the week began, Colin Sutyla, Davis Chatfield, Patrick Welch and Joe Tucker were the top four players in the 95th RIGA Junior Championship. Now, as the week winds down, those four have proven they deserved their rankings.
The top four seeds all won impressively in the quarterfinals on Wednesday to earn semifinal berths.
It was not much different among the girls as the top four seeds won in that division as well, although it was the number four seed who stole the show. Lauren Dohoney, a 14-year-old from Alpine, began the day with an eagle, holing out from the fairway on the par-4 first hole.
``I hit a hybrid. I had 160 yards,’’ said Dohoney, who will enter ninth grade at Bay View in the fall and be a teammate of Alana McGuinness, the player she went on to beat, 8 and 6. ``It landed about two feet from the hole and rolled in.’’
Allison Paik, Courtney Breen and Addy Douglas also won, completing a sweep for the top four seeds.
Sutyla, who is coming on in leaps and bounds this summer, again was impressive in recording a 6-and-5 triumph over Jack Steckler. A junior at Hendricken, Sutyla birdied the first hole and was only 1-over for the 13 holes. Steckler stayed within two through eight before Steckler won 9, 11 (with a birdie), 12 and 13 to pull away.
Sutyla will meet his Hendricken teammate, Tucker, in the semis. Tucker turned back Brendan Fay, 4 and 3, in a match that saw only four holes halved. Tucker used birdies at 4 and 9 to help him build a 4-up advantage at the turn. Fay won 11 and 12 to pull within two but Tucker responded by taking 13 and 14.
``It means we’ll have a Hawk in the final,’’ said Hendricken coach Rick Angeli, who did his best to follow his two players. ``Unfortunately I can’t make it to see them tomorrow, but maybe that’s good.’’
For Chatfield and Welch it will be déjà vu all over again, as Yogi used to say. The two who have owned this event for the last three years _ Chatfield won last time and Welch the two years before that _ also met in the semifinals last year.
The two have become close friends through golf, to the point where Chatfield credits his friendship with Welch as one of the prime reasons he is playing for Rhode Island rather than Massachusetts in the New England juniors. He is a member of Wannamoisett but lives in Attleboro so he could play for either side. Wednesday, after the two closed out their matches early, they practiced with each other.
Chatfield was 1-under for the 14 holes he needed to turn back Jesse Boog, 6 and 4. Chatfield’s work included three birdies. Welch was equally impressive as he topped Ryan Malloy, 5 and 3. Welch also was 1-under, including birds at 7 and 9. Welch twice won three holes in a row, 5-7, 9-11.
Paik, the girls’ medalist, was given a strong challenge by Kirkbrae’s Marissa Isabella. The two were even through 10. Paik won 11 with a birdie and went on to a 3-and-2 decision. She will meet Dohoney in the semis.
Rhode Island Country Club’s Breen earned a semifinal berth for the second year in a row as she swept past Ava Santamaria, 9 and 7, without losing a hole. Newport’s Douglas, an all-stater this past year as a freshman at Prout, finished strongly with pars on each of the last four holes played in a 6-and-5 victory over Jaclyn Levesque of Valley.
Both the semis and finals will be played Thursday.
Round of 16 Recap
By Paul Kenyon
PAWTUCKET _ Team Rhode Island had a perfect day Tuesday in the 95th RIGA Junior Championship, even if they were not playing as a team.
Four members of the squad that won the New England Junior team title last summer are back competing in the state juniors this week at Pawtucket Country Club. All four once again qualified for the championship division and all four won their opening round matches after waiting out a rain delay on Tuesday.
Defending champion Davis Chatfield, two-time winner Patrick Welch, Joe Tucker and Jesse Boog, the four members of last year’s state team taking part in the event, all earned quarterfinal berths. So did Colin Sutyla, the medalist this year, Jack Steckler, Brendan Fay and Ryan Malloy.
If there is a surprise in the group it is Fay, a Rhode Island Country Club product who will be a sophomore at Barrington High this year. He is the 12th seed after shooting a 76 in qualifying. But he came out of the gatme flying against fifth seeded Elliot Barber of Potowomut, winning each of the first three holes. Barber, a La Salle star, stopped the run with a birdie on four. Fay got going again, posting three straight threes, two pars and a birdie, to build his lead to 4-up.
Barber pulled back within two holes through 12, but Fay won the 13th with a par and was on his way to the quarters, 3 and 2.
Fay will meet Tucker, of Hendricken and Potowomut. The Tucker-Ricky Angeli match was interesting because it matched the son of Hendricken High coach Rick Angeli against one of the Hawks star players in Tucker. Angeli, who is 13 and about to enter eighth grade, was only 1-down through seven.
``He hung in there. He made me work,’’ Tucker said.
Tucker’s advantage in distance paid off on holes 8-11, some of the longest holes on the course. Tucker won them all and took the match, 5 and 4.
The only other lower seed with Fay to win was Boog. He is the 10th seed after an opening 75 and had to face Rio Holzwarth of Wannamoisett. Holzwarth, last year’s medalist, jumped to a 2-up advantage when he began with four straight pars. But Boog won the par-3 fifth with a par and then birdied the par-3 seventh to pull even. Boog, from Wanumetonomy, then won the next four holes with pars and was on his way to a 4-and-3 decision.
Boog draws the defending Chatfield next. Chatfield continued the stellar play he has shown all summer, going 2-under for the 13 holes he needed to turn back Nick Petrarca, 6 and 5.
Sutyla, the medalist, lost the first two holes to Sam Taraian. Sutyla had bogeyed each of the first two, but then flashed the form he had displayed in shooting 67 in qualifying. He was 1-under over the next 13 holes, and never lost another hole as he won, 4 and 3.
Sutyla will meet Steckler of Rhode Island Country Club and Moses Brown in the quarters. Steckler ousted Kyle McGowan, 4 and 2, in a wild match that saw one or the other win 10 of the 16 holes played. Stickler was 4-up through six before McGowan battled back within two through 14. Steckler then steadied and took both 15 and 16 with pars to win the match.
The bottom quarter of the draw will pit Classical’s Welch against Ryan Malloy of East Greenwich.
Welch played like a two-time champion as he made eight pars and a bird on the way to building a 4-up lead over Dylan Kane of Wannamoisett. Welch went on to win 5 and 4.
Malloy, who will be a senior at East Greenwich, went back and forth with Brendan Rogers of Wannamosiett, another match which saw one or the other win 10 of the 15 holes before Malloy prevailed, 4 and 3. The two were one-hole apart before Malloy won 9, 10 and 11, all with pars, and 13 with a birdie.
Only two matches were held in the girls’ division with Marissa Isabella of Kirkbrae edging Mackenzie Conley of Wannamoisett, 3 and 2, and Ava Santamaria of Alpine squeezing past Morgan Macleod of Wannamoisett, 2 and 1.
Play began two hours and 45 minutes late because of morning rain. It was still raining lightly when play began but stopped before anyone had played more than a few holes and was fine for the rest of the day. Quarterfinals will be contested Wednesday and both the semis and finals on Thursday.
Round 1 Recap
By Paul Kenyon
PAWTUCKET _ Colin Sutyla let everyone know on Monday that the battle for the 95th RIGA Junior Championship is not just a two-player race.
Based on past results, Davis Chatfield and Patrick Welch entered the event at Pawtucket Country Club as strong favorites. They have piled up numerous honors in the last several years, among them owning this event for the last three years, Chatfield taking the title last year and Welch in both 2013 and 2014.
They both played well again on Monday, Chatfield recording a 1-under 68 and Welch matching par 69. On this day, though, that only gave them second and third place. Sutyla, a Hendricken star who plays out of Potowmut, stole the spotlight. He earned medalist honors with a 67 that included a birdie on the par-4 closing hole.
For those who have followed junior golf in the past year, Sutyla’s performance was not a shock. He has been rapidly earning a spot among the rising stars.
He was a first-team All-Stater for Hendricken, finished third third in the coaches’ regular-season stroke rankings and fifth in the state tournament, where he had the second-best score of the day in the opening round with a 1-over 72. He reached Match Play in the State Amateur at Point Judith. And just last week, Sutyla finished in a tie for 10th in the RIGA Stroke Play Championship at Agawam with rounds of 72-73-72.
He turned in his best performance yet on Monday with a round that included five birdies.
``I hit the ball great all day,’’ he said. ``My putting was a little shaky. I always gave myself birdie chances.
``I missed a lot of putts inside 10 feet,’’ he added. ``Sometimes I left myself above the hole. Even at 10 feet you can’t be aggressive.’’
``I played well at the Stroke Play last week. I’m playing good right now,’’ he said.
Chatfield, who is the first player ever to be the reigning Amateur and Junior champion _ he won the Amateur earlier this summer at Point Judith _ was less than excited about his 68.
``I three-putted one of the par 3s from three feet,’’ the Amateur champion said. That was on 13, completing a stretch of three birdies in four holes. Otherwise, he had four birds, including one on the last hole when he stuck his approach within five feet.
Welch was much like Chatfield, saying he played solidly but not as well as he would like. He made two birdies and two bogeys on his way to 69.
Allison Paik used a strong finish to earn the medal in the girls’ division with a 75. Paik, who reached the finals in this event last year before losing to Florio, earned the medal for the second year in a row thanks to birdies at 16 and 17. The 14-year-old was five strokes ahead of second-place Courtney Breen.
Because there are only 10 players in the girls competition, all but four of the players will have a bye Tuesday when match play begins.
Several of the state’s best junior players are not competing because they are in Sacramento, Cal., competing in the Trusted Choice Big I Classic at Del Paso Country Club. Alexis Florio, the 2015 RIGA Junior Girls Champion, and boys All-Staters Riley Griffin, Sean Irons and Jeff Giguere all are in that tournament.
Schedule of Events
Monday, August 1 - 18 Holes Stroke Play
Dress Code: Proper golf attire is expected. Collared shirt and Slacks or Knee length shorts only. Examples of attire not acceptable: short shorts, cargo shorts, athletic shorts, jeans, jean shorts, tank tops and t-shirts. The same is expected of spectators.