For immediate release: June 26, 2023
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – History was made in Springfield on Monday when the US Junior Amateur and US Girls Junior Amateur Qualifying were held at the Veterans Memorial Golf Course. It is the first time that one of the city’s two municipal golf courses has hosted a USGA Qualifier.
The event was highlighted by a visit from Mayor Domenic Sarno, who delivered a proclamation that officially held Monday USGA Junior Amateur and Girls Junior Amateur qualifying day in Springfield.
In the morning, four players shot 3-under or better to earn a spot at the US Junior Amateur Championship. And in the afternoon, three punched their ticket to the US Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship.
Online: US Junior Am Scores | US Girls’ Junior Am Scores | USGA Events
What Happened: US Junior Amateur Qualifying
Today’s first group grabbed two of the four qualifying places. Tyler Bruneau (Nashawtuc CC) and Sasha Robinson (Plymouth CC) played together on Monday and will now have the chance to tee it up down in South Carolina at the Championship Proper.
Robinson birdied holes 14, 15 and 16 to get to 3-under par and ran in with a pair of nice pars to earn one of the four spots.
“There were a lot of few holes out there, but you had to keep it on the fairway and the greens were in really good condition.”
For Bruneau, a University of Rhode Island commit who is originally from Massachusetts, it wasn’t the five birdies that celebrated the biggest, but rather a timely par save on the final hole. After missing the green on the par-3 finisher, he hit a pitch shot to 20 feet. Although clearly unhappy with the outcome of his second, Bruneau’s sentiments turned thanks to the outcome of his third, capped off with a fist pump and a loud “Give it to me!”
Interestingly, the other two players who got a golden ticket came from the last tee time of the day.
Jia Hao Poon (Malaysia) made the 24-hour flight across the world to compete in Springfield, Massachusetts. His response to the question of what made him choose this location was interesting.
“I chose this location because Massachusetts has such a cool vibe. I heard a lot about the Muni’s (Municipal Golf Courses) in the area and really wanted to check them out.”
He was seen over the past few days playing both Veterans and Franconia in preparation for today’s qualifier. It is safe to say that the plan succeeded.
Trevor Drew (Long Meadow CC) went into his final two holes knowing he needed a pair of birdies to qualify. After driving the 300-yard par-4 8th, the first birdie was easily caught. But on his final hole, the par-5 9th, his second shot splashed into the bunker and left a mirror egg. A classic up-and-down got Drew to 3-under and a tee time next month in South Carolina.
All four players will make their USGA Championship debuts next month at Daniel Island Club in Charleston, South Carolina.
What Happened: US Girls’ Junior Amateur Qualifying
In the afternoon the score 72 was the lucky number. All three players who qualified for the US Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship made par to earn a trip to Colorado.
Early in the round, players were pulled off the course due to a weather delay, but were quickly able to re-enter to continue play.
One of those who took advantage of the break was Isabel Brozena (Indian Ridge CC). After a slow start, she chipped away with some birdies in the middle of her round.
“Shout out to my group of Piper Jordan (Boston GC) and Delaney Nadeau. They made the round so much fun and screamed and cheered me on the whole way. I think they were more excited for me to advance than I was .”
With the middle wave pulling Brozena within striking distance, there was still ground to make up. On the par-3 7th (her 16th hole of the day), Brozena stepped up and delivered. She hit a tee shot to the top shelf, which is where the hole location was set, but was still a healthy 20 feet away. Her next shot was even better as the long birdie putt dropped to the bottom of the cup and pulled her back into the lead.
Brozena made one more birdie at 8 (her 17th), which was enough to secure a spot in the Championship Proper, and allowed for a stress-free walk up the 18th.
With Brozena at the top of the rankings were a couple of players from abroad. With a round of 72, Emily Luo (California) made it two years in a row to successfully qualify for the US Girls’ Junior Amateur from Massachusetts. Last year she made it through the Oak Hill CC Qualifying event.
And rounding out the group of co-medalists (and qualifiers) was Sawyer Brockstedt. She has never played in Massachusetts before and is coming quickly to enjoy the area. Like many of the players in the field, Brockstedt signed up for several USGA qualifiers being held in Massachusetts this week. On Tuesday, she will also compete in the US Women’s Amateur Qualifying at Renaissance in Haverhill.
The last few days have been spent bouncing back and forth between the two clubs to get his practice rounds in. After successfully qualifying on Monday, you’d think she’d be perfectly fine with all the driving.
The three will now compete in the US Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship in Colorado next month.
US JUNIOR AM QUALIFIERS (names; cities)
Jia Hao Poon (Malaysia); (-5) 67
Tyler Bruneau (West Palm Beach, FL); (-4) 68
Sascha Robinson (Plymouth, MA); (-3) 69
Trevor Drew (Tyngsborough, MA); (-3) 69
SUPPLEMENTARY (in sequence)
Aidan Jamzidi (Malaysia); (-2) 70*
John Scully (Winchester, MA); (-2) 70*
*Advanced in the playoffs
US GIRLS’ JUNIOR AM QUALIFIERS (names; cities)
Isabel Brozena (North Reading, MA); (E) 72
Sawyer Brockstedt (Rehoboth Beach, DE; (E) 72
Emily Luo (Danville, CA); (E) 72
ALTERNATIVES (in order)
Jolene Truong (Canada); (+2) 74
Zorah Williams (Mystic, CT); (+3) 75
VETERANS MEMORIAL GOLF COURSE
In 2020, the city of Springfield invested $1 million in its two municipal golf courses, Veterans Memorial GC and Franconia GC. The courses, headlined by a major bunker renovation, now boast championship-worthy tests. This year’s US Junior Amateur and US Girls Junior Amateur qualifiers held at Veterans Memorial GC sold out faster than any of the other qualifiers in the country.
The golf course at Veterans was designed by Geoffrey Cornish, a noted golf course architect, author and a fellow of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. The course opened for play in 1964.
As a municipally operated course, Veterans is known throughout Western Mass as one of the best values in golf. With greens fees as low as $27 and replay prices running as low as $6, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cheaper way to play a decent golf course in Massachusetts.
⛳️ Golf in the city of Springfield ⛳️
— Mass Golf (@PlayMassGolf) 26 June 2023
ABOUT THE US JUNIOR AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
In 1948, the USGA inaugurated the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship for players under the age of 18 to determine the best junior golfer in the United States. In 2016, the USGA made a significant change to the age limit for the US Junior Amateur to allow anyone under the age of 19 to compete starting in the 2017 Championship.
A number of prominent players have won the US Junior Amateur, including 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, who captured three consecutive titles from 1991-93. Jordan Spieth, the 2015 US Open champion, is the only other person to win multiple junior amateur titles. Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley, MA won the 2018 championship.
The 2023 championship will be contested at the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, SC. The American junior champion receives a waiver for the following year’s US Open Championship.
ABOUT THE US GIRLS JUNIOR AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
The US Girls’ Junior Championship was established in 1949, one year after the Junior Amateur Championship. Philadelphia (Pa.) Country Club, one of the oldest golf courses in the country, was the host club for the USGA’s newest championship, and the competition drew a starting field of 28 girls from 17 states, although 10 of the players were from the Philadelphia area.
Marlene Bauer, 15, of Los Angeles, claimed the first title, becoming one of a long line of girls junior champions who would succeed on the professional level, including Hall of Famers Mickey Wright, JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Amy Alcott and Nancy Lopez. Alcott, Carner, Inbee Park, Ariya Jutanugarn, Hollis Stacy and Wright would go on to win the US Women’s Open.
In 2016, the USGA made a significant change to the age criteria. Beginning with the 2017 championships, any woman under the age of 19 will be eligible to compete in the US Girls’ Junior. Prior to that, competitors could not have turned 18 at the end of the championship.
The USGA also announced in 2017 that the US Girls’ Junior champion would receive an exemption to the following year’s US Women’s Open Championship.
The 2023 championship will be contested at the Eisenhower Golf Course at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.