By Bruce Berlet


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (June 27, 2019) – For the first six holes at Yale Golf Course on Wednesday, Tyler Woodward didn’t have much of an idea what was going to happen.

Woodward was all over the legendary course, hitting his drive into the fescue on the third hole and into the water on the fourth before three-putting the sixth green from 20 feet.

But on the eighth tee, Woodward had a little chat with himself, hoping to right the ship and get into contention for second consecutive berth in the PGA of America’s Junior Golf Championshipbeing played at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford on July 30-Aug. 2.

Woodward couldn’t have imagined what would transpire on the back nine, as he made birdie, his first hole-in-one and two more birdies at the 12ththrough 15thholes to rally for an even-par 70 and 36-hole total of 3-over 143 that gave him a tie for second with Alex Aurora of Hamden in the Boys Junior Connecticut PGA Championship. Woodward and Aurora finished three strokes behind medalist Alexander Gu of Darien.

On the girls’ side, Emily Cohen of Darien (69) and Irene Wang of Athens, Ga. (71) tied for first at 144 but were not among the those attempting to qualify for the national championship because their residence and affiliation outside of the section. Julia Kashimura of Watertown birdied the 18thhole for 69-145 to grab first place in the national championship qualifier, one shot ahead of Angela Garvin of Feeding Hills, Mass. (71), who won the title a record-tying four consecutive years in 2014-17, and then lost a playoff to Sarah Houle last year.

Woodward, 18, of Durham shared second with Alex Aurora of Hamden, whose 69 for 143 was three higher than Gu, who spiced his 71 with an eagle 3 at the 16th hole to qualify for nationals for the first time after narrowly missing in his first two attempts.

“The front was tough. Everything was going wrong,” said Woodward, who didn’t start playing golf until five years ago when several friends introduced him to the game. “But then I had the talk, hoping to par the tough eighth and nine holes and then try to make some birdies on the back side. I get frustrated, but it doesn’t last, and I played well down the stretch.”

After pars at the 10thand 11thholes, Woodward hit an 8-iron to 8 feet for a birdie and then knocked a 6-iron into the cup on the 196-yard 13thhole. He capped his memorable streak with a wedge to 8 feet at the 14thhole and a 6-iron at No. 15 to 6 feet that led to a birdie and a total of three strokes on the two par-3 holes on the back nine.

“I was yelling for it to go,” Woodward said of his first hole-in-one. “It landed two yards short and fell right in. It was an amazing feeling. It was my first ace, so you always remember a shot like that.”

Woodward, who plays out of Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield, shot 139 a year ago to finish second to Christopher Fosdick, who got an exemption into the nationals this year. Working with friend Jack French helped Woodward improve his game, and he was the No. 1 player on the Coginchaug High School team in Durham that went 16-0, won the Shoreline Conference title, and tied for first in the CIAC Division IV Championship. Woodward finished second in the conference tournament, third in the state championship, and won the CIAC State Open for boys and girls in all divisions.

Gu, 17, who will be a senior at Darien High School, bogeyed the par-3 fifth and ninth holes and was still two over when he got to the 553-yard par-5 16th. A drive and 3-iron to 20 feet set up his eagle, and a bogey at the treacherous par-5 18thmerely reduced his margin of victory.

“Patience and being able to hit the fairways and greens in the correct spots were a big reason I did so well,” said Gu, who plays out of Tashua Knolls GC in Trumbull and Oak Hill Park GC in Norwalk. “Position on the greens is a necessity because you can have 60-foot putts out here and that’s never good.”

Gu’s 69 led after the rain-delayed first round, and now he’ll be playing in the national championship after his close calls the past two years.

“I was very frustrated to just miss in my first two tries, but now I’m really looking forward to the national championship, especially since it’s in Connecticut,” Gu said.

Gu finished fourth and third in his first two starts in this event but didn’t qualify because each of the 41 PGA of America sections get two spots in the nationals unless it is hosting the event, which gives them four berths. Gu and Darien High School finished second in both the FCIAC and CIAC championships and won the CIAC State Open.

Jeremy Yun of Old Saybrook birdied the last two holes for 69-143 and a tie for fourth with Jonathan Elkins of South Deerfield, Mass., whose 68 was the low round of the day. Yun then parred the first playoff hole to earn the fourth spot in the nationals, while Elkins became first alternate.

Will Lodge of Darien (69), Luke Willenborg of Southwick, Mass. (73) and Mitchel Schwab of Westport (75) tied for sixth at 145, but Schwab wasn’t among those qualifying for the nationals. Lodge became second alternate when he parred the first playoff hole against Willenborg.

Jared Walter of South Windsor (74) tied Michael Hanratty of Avon (71) for eighth at 146, and Walter birdied the second playoff hole to earn fourth alternate with Hanratty getting the fifth spot.

The girls’ competition was just as dramatic.

Wang’s opening 73 gave her a two-stroke lead that she maintained through 13 holes before a strong showing by Cohen left them tied after regulation. Cohen birdied the 14th, 16thand 17thholes while Wang could match her only on No. 17, leaving them tied with a hole to go. Each bogeyed the 18thto finish at 4-over 144.

Cohen, 18, who will be a freshman this fall at Elon University in Elon, N.C., then birdied the second playoff to win the overall title. She attributed much of her success to a practice round Monday with Barry Troiano, who used to work at the course.

“He’s my coach, teacher and inspiration,” said Cohen, who spent the last two years at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. “He gave me some great advice about club selection and being in the right position around and on the greens. I followed my game plan really well and trusted my swing. And I love playing Yale. It’s such a pleasure to play and like a wildlife sanctuary.”

Cohen plans to play in the Junior Girls North-South Championship Friday through July 3, at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C., and the Connecticut State Women’s Amateur Championship July 24-25, at Oronoque Village Country Club in Stratford. She also hopes to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship on Aug. 5-11, at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

Wang, who sandwiched this event with tournaments in Virginia and Vermont, said she was a little nervous in the playoff because it was the first time that she had gone extra holes in stroke play.

“It’s usually match play, so this was a little different,” Wang said. “I started well (two birdies in the first four holes), and my driving and irons were good. But it was disappointing to miss the 10-foot putt (for par) on the last hole.”

Kashimura, 16, who will be a junior at Taft School in Watertown, advanced to her first national championship after losing a playoff to Garvin for the second and final spot last year.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Kashimura said. “I couldn’t go last year, so I really wanted to do it this time.”

Kashimura, who won the 2018 New England Girls Prep School Championship, said her putter was the main reason that she attained her goal and earned No. 1 among those eligible for the nationals when she made a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

“I hit the ball similar to what I did yesterday (76), but I made most all of the makeable putts that I looked at today,” she said. “I had missed good birdie chances on 16 and 17, so I really wanted to make the one on 18. I was keeping Angela’s scorecard, so I knew I needed the last putt to beat her.”

The other two girls to qualify for the nationals were Sophia Sarrazin of Westport, whose closing 68 was the low score of the girls’ tournament and gave her 147, one ahead of Alexsandra Lapple of Ridgefield (73-148).The course played par-70, 6,403 yards for the boys and par-70 for 5,430 yards for the girls.

The tournament was a prelude to the Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championships that will be played at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford. The girls will compete July 9-12, while the boys will tee it up July 30-Aug. 2, in two of junior golf’s major championships.

Those events will feature 144 of the best male and female junior golfers from more than 40 states and several countries.

For more information about the national championships, visit and follow @JuniorPGAChamp on Twitter and Instagram.

For volunteer information, visit


FINAL Results: 2019 Boys Junior Connecticut PGA Championship


1   Alexander Gu          Darien, CT             69-71–140 E

T2 Tyler Woodward        Durham, CT             73-70–143 +3

T2  Alex Aurora           Hamden, CT             74-69–143 +3

T4 Jeremy Yun            Old Saybrook, CT       71-73–144 +4

T4 Jonathan Elkins       South Deerfield, MA    76-68–144 +4

T6  Will Lodge            Darien, CT             76-69–145 +5

T6  Luke Willenborg       Southwick, MA          72-73–145 +5

T6 Mitchell Schwab       Westport, CT           70-75–145 +5

T9 Michael Hanratty      Avon, CT               75-71–146 +6

T9 Jared Walter          South Windsor, CT      72-74–146 +6

11  Kyle St.Pierre        Shelton, CT            74-73–147 +7

T12 Jacob Lindsay         Berlin, CT             75-73–148 +8

T12 Mac Mahoney           West Hartford, CT      74-74–148 +8

T12 Leo Hsieh             New York City, NY      72-76–148 +8

T15 Bennett Ostern        Weatogue, CT           76-73–149 +9

T15 Kevin Allard          Longmeadow, MA         78-71–149 +9

T15 Yu Fung Cyrus Lee     Lake Mary, FL          72-77–149 +9

T18 Michael Sosik         Fiskdale, MA           80-70–150 +10

T18 Matthew Doyle         Madison, CT            76-74–150 +10

20  Cole Hahn             Avon, CT               74-77–151 +11

T21 Jackson Roman         Kensington, CT         78-74–152 +12

T21 Calvin Smith          Darien, CT             78-74–152 +12

T21 Tommy Dallahan        Ellington, CT          78-74–152 +12

24  Jack Bosworth         Simsbury, CT           79-74–153 +13

T25 Jack Livingstone      West Hartford, CT      79-75–154 +14

T25 James Whiteley        Easton, CT             78-76–154 +14

T25 Luke Stennett         Portland, CT           78-76–154 +14

T25 Charlie Duffy         Trumbull, CT           78-76–154 +14

T25 Kevin Morris          Hamden, CT             74-80–154 +14

T30 Gregory Gouvin        West Suffield, CT      83-72–155 +15

T30 Chris Camerlin        Longmeadow, MA         79-76–155 +15

T30 Colin Barrett         Avon, CT               74-81–155 +15

T33 Diego Saavedra-Davila San Juan, PR           84-72–156 +16

T33 John Soltys           Ware, MA               82-74–156 +16

T33 Vasily Konachenkov    Wallingford, CT        79-77–156 +16

T33 Robert Lachance Jr    West Hartford, CT      79-77–156 +16

T33 Bradley Sawka         Ellington, CT          74-82–156 +16

38  Jake Ivan-Pal         Milford, CT            75-82–157 +17

T39 Billy Nail            Cos Cob, CT            83-75–158 +18

T39 Max Chubet            Southington, CT        82-76–158 +18

T39 Dominic Manning       Somers, CT             80-78–158 +18

T39 Christopher Magliocco Riverside, CT          79-79–158 +18

T39 Garrett Brown         West Hartford, CT      79-79–158 +18

T39 Grant Hamilton        Pawcatuck, CT          77-81–158 +18

T45 Ryan Downes           Longmeadow, MA         83-76–159 +19

T45 Jack Godin            Wilbraham, MA          81-78–159 +19

T45 Christopher Lang      Ridegfield, CT         78-81–159 +19

T48 Kevin Lynch           Haddam, CT             85-75–160 +20

T48 Peter Meehan          Fairfield, CT          83-77–160 +20

T48 John Guerrera         Farmington, CT         82-78–160 +20

51 Ethan Kalk            South Glastonbury, CT  82-79–161 +21

T52 Aidan Stuart          Madison, CT            89-73–162 +22

T52 Austin Carta          Plantsville, CT        81-81–162 +22

54 Samay Govani          South Windsor, CT      80-85–165 +25

55  Kyle Camello          Coventry, CT           85-83–168 +28

56  Luke Karpiej          East Haddam, CT        82-92–174 +34

57 Charlie Dolan         South Glastonbury, CT  88-87–175 +35



FINAL Results: 2019 Boys Junior Connecticut PGA Championship


1   Emily Cohen         Darien, CT         75-69–144 +4

2   Irene Wang          Athens, GA         73-71–144 +4

3   Julia Kashimura     Watertown, CT      76-69–145 +5

4   Angela Garvin       Feeding Hills, MA  75-71–146 +6

5   Sophia Sarrazin     Westport, CT       79-68–147 +7

T6  Tiffany Wu          Hong Kong, HI      76-72–148 +8

T6  Alexsandra Lapple   Ridgefield, CT     75-73–148 +8

8   Mary Li             Athens, GA         79-72–151 +11

9   Mia Scarpati        Norwalk, CT        76-79–155 +15

T10 Meghan Mitchell     New Canaan, CT     78-79–157 +17

T10 Nicole Chan         Kent, CT           75-82–157 +17

T12 Caroline Petchark   Waterford, CT      83-75–158 +18

T12 Alia Godek          Feeding Hills, MA  81-77–158 +18

14  Nathalie Benrey     Atherton, CA       82-78–160 +20

T15 Mia Hidalgo         Cheshire, CT       81-84–165 +25

T15 Sydney Hidalgo      Cheshire, CT       81-84–165 +25

T15 Alexandra Fox       Ellington, CT      78-87–165 +25

18  Emily McKenna       Wethersfield, CT   90-82–172 +32

19  Emma Michetti       Monroe CT          86-88–174 +34

20  Milan Yorke         Ansonia, CT        91-85–176 +36

T21 Molly Mitchell      New Canaan, CT     87-90–177 +37

T21 Ling (Sarah) Ji     Athens, GA         84-93–177 +37

T23 Annie Dai           Longmeadow, MA     89-89–178 +38

T23 Mia Grzywinski      Farmington, CT     88-90–178 +38

25  Maggie Montalto     Rocky Hill, CT     94-85–179 +39

T26 Elena Spangle       Brooklyn, CT       91-89–180 +40

T26 Leslie Li           West Hartford, CT  94-86–180 +40

T26 Camille Richmond    Northampton, MA    91-89–180 +40

T26 Caroline Cermignani Glastonbury, CT    90-90–180 +40

30  Brooke Zajac        Plantsville, CT    97-85–182 +42

31  Maren Livingstone   West Hartford, CT  91-94–185 +45

32  Bailey McGuigan     Trumbull, CT       91-96–187 +47

33  Jamie Andrade       Milford, CT        98-91–189 +49

34  Elizabeth Dunn      Berlin, CT         98-93–191 +51

35  Lydia Welborn       Stamford, CT       102-95–197 +57

T36 Laniah Moffett      Waterbury, CT      104-94–198 +58

T36 Lily Nguyen         West Hartford, CT  99-99–198 +58

38  Emily Bonfiglio     Agawam, MA         108-98–206 +66

39  Rachel Shepherd     Fairfield, CT      106-112–218 +78

40  Catherine Peng      Glastonbury, CT    114-123–237 +97