The 16th Northern Junior
Championship presented by the Golf Performance Center concluded on Wednesday
afternoon at the famed New Haven Country Club, and two future stars in the game
of golf were crowned this year’s Northern Junior Champions. Bright sunshine and
blue skies set the stage for a wonderful conclusion to the event, but breezy
conditions made the tricky layout even more treacherous. At day’s end, it was
Mark Turner of Gloucester, Massachusetts and Madeline Jin of Belle Meade, New
Jersey who emerged victorious.

Following the Players Dinner on
Monday night, which included the presentation of the Ryan Lee Memorial
Scholarship to Brendan Cronin, the players were greeted with soft, receptive
conditions during Tuesday’s opening round. Players and families again converged
at New Haven Country Club on Tuesday night for the traditional Long Drive
Contest, won by Connor Belcastro (326 yards) for the boys and Olivia Zambruno
(267 yards) for the girls.

But when Wednesday morning
arrived, the players shifted their focus to becoming the next Northern Junior
champion. Defending Champion Bobby Weise was attempting to become only the
second player in Northern Junior history to successfully defend his title. Ryan
Lee of Berlin, Connecticut accomplished that feat in 2007 and 2008, but after
rounds of 70 and 72 Weise had to settle for a tie for tenth place at two over
par for the championship.

At one point on Wednesday
afternoon, deciding the winner of the Boys Championship appeared to be a mere
formality. Overnight leader Christopher Francoeur of Amesbury, Massachusetts
reached six under par for the tournament after a remarkable birdie on the
difficult par 3 12th, and seemed to be firmly in control of the
championship. An unfortunate bogey on the uphill par 4 13th was
followed by another at the par 4 14th, and Francoeur’s lead had
slipped to just one shot when he reached the par 3 17th hole. After
finding the green in regulation, Francoeur then suffered a devastating
four-putt double bogey, dropping him to one shot back of the lead.

Meanwhile, playing in the same
group as Francoeur, Mark Turner turned on the jets for the second day in a row
on the closing holes of New Haven Country Club. Turner, who is high school
teammates and best friends with Francoeur, birdied the par 3 17th for a crucial three shot swing, and stepped up to the 18th tee tied
for the lead with Alex Jamieson of Duxbury, Massachusetts.  Jamieson, playing in the group ahead, failed
to birdie the par 5 18th, and posted three under par for the
championship to become the leader in the clubhouse.

After a beautiful drive, Turner
then delivered a majestic three wood to the back edge of the green, leaving
himself about thirty feet for eagle and certain victory. Not to be outdone,
Francoeur rebounded like a first-class champion with a birdie on the 18th
to tie Jamieson in the clubhouse at three under. After Turner’s lag putt ran
just past the hole, he faced a four foot birdie putt for the Northern Junior
title. With a deep breath and smooth stroke, Turner calmly rolled in the clutch

“It feels amazing to win this
tournament,” Turner said during his victory speech. “This event is so much fun
to play and the golf course is absolutely excellent. I want to thank Chris
[Francoeur] and Alex [Jamieson] for being so gracious and supportive, and for
being such awesome competitors.”

Turner’s rounds of 67 and 69 gave
his a four under par total of 136, good enough for a one stroke victory over
Francoeur and Jamieson. Alone in fourth place was Colton Tanner of Park City,
Utah, who posted solid rounds of 68 and 70 for a two under par total of 138.
One stroke back at one under par 139 was Benjamin James of Milford, Connecticut,
a remarkable performance from a young man who will be just an eighth grader
this fall.

In the Girls Championship, Madeline
Jin of Belle Meade, New Jersey outlasted the field with rock solid ball
striking even amid the breezy conditions. Jin’s round of 72 on Tuesday left her
three shots off the lead of Caroline Hodge of Larchmont, New York who posted an
opening round one under par 69. But Jin’s game plan of hitting fairways and
greens proved to be a winning formula, as she hit a total of thirty-four out of
thirty-six greens in regulation throughout the championship.

But Jin’s victory didn’t come
without some late back-nine drama. Overnight leader Caroline Hodge found
herself tied for the lead with Jin when she reached the cruel par 3 17th.
After splashing her bunker shot out on to the green, Hodge faced a daunting par
putt to keep pace with Jin, who was playing the group ahead. A catastrophic
four-putt left Hodge with a triple bogey, and ended her chances of capturing
this year’s Northern Junior. But the future Florida State Seminole will have a
chance for redemption in 2018, and hopes to improve upon her sixth place finish
next year.

Hodge wasn’t Jin’s only
competition though, as Rylie Heflin of Avondale, Pennsylvania found herself
atop the leaderboard midway through the final round. Heflin, who opened the
championship with solid round of 72 on Tuesday, was even par for the day and
tied for the lead when she reached the par 4 16th hole. An untimely
double bogey on the 16th left Heflin in a tough spot to catch Jin,
who continued to plot her way around New Haven Country Club with precision.  Heflin would have to settle for another round
of 72, and a four over par total of 144 earned her a solo second place finish.
Her outstanding play will be exciting to watch for many years to come, and she
is only a rising freshman in high school.

When Jin reached the final green,
she faced a ten foot birdie putt to essentially seal her title. The putt never
left the center of the cup, and Jin gave a joyful fist pump as she watched the
putt drop.

“I’m thrilled to win this
tournament,” said Jin after her stellar performance. “It’s funny, because
usually the strength of my game is my short game and putting. But this week I
hit the ball so well and that’s really what carried me to victory. I also
really want to thank my parents for all of their support and for being here
with me.”

Jin’s final round of even par 70
was the lowest round of the day in the Girls Championship, and her two over par
total of 142 earned her a two stroke victory. Alone in second was Heflin at
four over par, followed by Bailey Davis of White Plains, Maryland at five over
par. In a tie for fourth place at six over par were Riddhi Singh of Marlboro,
New Jersey and Jacqueline Cherry of Ellicott City, Maryland.

For the second year in a row,
players of the Northern Junior enjoyed a special treat during the final round
when they reached the 18th green. Sergeant Stewart of the United
States Marine Corps greeted the players and attended the flagstick on the final
green, appropriately adorned with a United States of America flag. Many players
and families took the opportunity to offer their thanks and appreciation for
his service and his dedication to the United States of America. It was yet
another beautiful tribute to Stan Trojanowski, for whom the Northern Junior was
originally founded. Stan Trojanowski was a marine himself, serving in World War
II. Sadly, Stanley Trojanowski passed away in 2001 due to mesothelioma, yet his
spirit and love for the game of golf continue to live on through golf’s next

This year marked the 16th playing
of the Northern Junior Championship, an internationally recognized junior
championship held each year in the state of Connecticut. The 2017 field
featured players from 23 different states, provinces, and countries who had not
reached their 19th birthday or entered college by August 9th. More information
about this year’s event, as well as next year’s event, can be found at

A sincere thank you to the golf
staff, maintenance crew, and members of New Haven Country Club for their
support, and thank you to the countless volunteers and Connecticut State Golf
Association officials who helped to make this year’s Northern Junior the best
event yet. Congratulations once again to Mark Turner and Madeline Jin, the 2017
Northern Junior champions.


The Golf Performance Center

Golf Performance Center is the Northeast's leading golf academy. Leveraging
more than 20 years of experience, PGA and TPI Certified Founder Roger Knick and
his coaching staff provide a unique methodology to training that focuses on the
5 Elements of Success: Desire, Coaching, Physical Performance & Nutrition,
Mental Game, and Equipment. Combined with state-of-the-art training facilities
and performance-assessment technologies, athletes enjoy customized programs
designed to take their game to the next level and give them the competitive
edge they seek.

the Northern Junior Championship

Northern Junior Championship is a nationally ranked junior golf tournament that
is contested over two days at New Haven Country Club in Hamden, Connecticut and
is open to amateur boys and girls under the age of 19 who have not entered
their first year of college. The tournament attracts a field of competitors
from across the country and across the world, and is conducted with the goal of
providing the same first-class championship experience offered at the best
national amateur and professional events. Now in its 16th year, the Northern
Junior Championship is conducted each year in memory of Stan Trojanowski,
father of Cindy and Gary Trojanowski, who passed away in 2001 due to