New England Junior: Luke Stennett puts on an impressive performance in wet conditions
University of Rhode Island commit Luke Stennett put together rounds of 66-67-71 to finish 12-under and win the boys’ individual title at the 2023 New England Junior Amateur.

“Winning the New England Junior Amateur means a lot to me,” Stennett said. “Coming off a poor performance in this tournament last year I wanted to redeem myself. Entering the tournament all I was focusing on was to just play golf and let whatever happened happen. I’ve been struggling a little in tournaments this year and to win this tournament the way I did really showed me that all the practice and hard work is paying off while at the same time it shows me that I am able to compete with the best.”

Battling wind, rain, and a soaking wet Mount Washington Golf Club, Stennett finished the 36-hole first day 11-under and the leader by two strokes. Beginning the final round on the par-5 11th hole Stennett immediately extended his advantage with a birdie and after additional birdies on Nos. 13 and 15 he had reached 14-under for the tournament.

“Luke Stennett was really on fire for all 54 holes,” said CSGA executive director Mike Moraghan. “A man on a mission. Even when he’d hit an awful shot, and he did hit a couple, he maintained his composure and made some tremendous recoveries. Luke has been a really good junior player, and it was exciting to see him finish this chapter of his career with such a great victory.”

Eventually, thanks to birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 Stennett would reach 15-under before giving a few shots back down the stretch. In the end, Stennett held on for a one-shot victory over two others.

“Throughout the day I really didn’t look at the leaderboard at all because I just wanted to play my game and when I play my game that’s when I play my best,” Stennett explained. “I didn’t want to change the way I played because it was close. I started the day with a two-shot lead over four players and I knew there was someone that could go low so I just kept going.”

Overall, the boys’ team finished 13-under and in second place behind the Massachusetts team that posted an impressive 33-under tally. The rest of the Connecticut lineup was rounded out by Alex Elia (-2, T8), Will Gregware (E, T11), Robby Rosati (E, T11), Bradley Sawka (+2, 14th), A.J. DePaolo (+9, T22), and Gavin Kvadus (+15, T34).

In the girls’ division Team Connecticut (+11) finished in second place behind champion Rhode Island (+5). All three Connecticut players finished inside the top eight with Aoife Devaney leading the way thanks to her third-place showing.

Devaney put together rounds of 75-72-72 to finish the tournament 3-over. In the final round, Devaney recorded three birdies, with two coming on consecutive holes, Nos. 3 and 4. However, the way in which she closed out her second round is what stood out.

“Moments stand out like Aoife finishing birdie-birdie in the second round to shoot even-par 72,” said Moraghan. “Just fantastic for her to do that on the 35th and 36th holes of a really long, really challenging day. As a coach, that’s the kind of performance you always remember, a kid who can maintain focus and keep battling for a full 36 holes. Just so impressive.”

Defending champion Arabella Lopez put together a strong showing in her title defense finishing 8-over in a tie for fifth while Laniah Moffett was 14-over in a tie for eighth.

“The conditions were brutal at times,” Moraghan said. “Wind, rain, and a soaking wet golf course, but all 10 of our players displayed great attitudes throughout the championship. Mature beyond their years every one of them. We could not have asked for 10 better representatives of Connecticut and the CSGA.”

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ABOUT THE New England Junior

Invitational event, where seven (7) junior golfers from each of the New England state golf associations are selected to compete in a 54 hole team and individual stroke play competition. Selection criteria is determined by each state golf association. Team scores are calculated by taking the best 5 out of 7 scores each day. Low 54 hole team score will be named the team champion. Low 54 individual will be named the individual champion.

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