Team Connecticut, coached by Bobby Sparks, head pro at Harwinton’s Fairview Farm Golf Course in Connecticut, and assistant Fairview pro, Jim Bunel, is heading to Arizona in November to compete in the National PGA Junior League Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. Grayhawk has hosted the Championship since 2016, with the 2018 event scheduled for Nov. 16-19.
The 10-member team advanced to the finals by winning Sectional and Regional competitions.
“A lot of the kids can’t believe they will be on live national TV just like the pros are,” said Bunel.
The team is made of 10 “all-stars” from the PGA Junior League Western Connecticut League that consisted of squads from Fairview Farm (two teams), Watertown Golf Club (three teams), Crestbrook Park Golf Course in Watertown, and Chippanee Country Club in Bristol. After the Sparks-led team won the league title, coaches from all teams conferred to pick the top players to go to Sectionals, said Bunel, who is in his first year as a professional at Fairview Farm.
The ages of the children on the team range from 8 to 13 and there is one girl, Sydney Hildago from Fairview Farm, on the squad. Other team members are Chery, Galen Fowles, Reilly Fowles, Caleb Smith and Brennan Myers, all from Fairview Farm, Palladino and Nate LaMadeleine from Watertown Golf Club, Alex Halpert from Crestbrook Park, and Brandon Frie from Chippanee Country Club.
Said Sparks, “It’s an awesome experience to bring those kids to Nationals. I feel fortunate to have brought Jimmy on board and all he brought to our programming at Fairview, especially his knowledge and experience with PGA Junior League golf.”
Team Connecticut posted three wins, two of them narrow victories, in the Sectional tournament, held at Middlefield’s Lyman Orchards Golf Club, to make it to the Regional event.
The team also beat three teams at the Regionals at Watertown Golf Club. The team played the Patriot League All-Stars out of Massachusetts, the 495 (Route) All-Star Team, and the Saratoga National All-Star team from New York.
The team will be starting a fund raising campaign to help the families involved make the most out the experience and help with travel expenses. “Hopefully, this will be the biggest vacation of their lives,” said Sparks. “The Golf Channel gives the event great coverage, and from what I hear the resort is spectacular. We are really looking forward to November 16.”
To find out how to help, visit www.fairviewfarmgc.com, or call 860-689-1000.