Finn Boynton and his family have spent at least a decade worth of summers staying in Newport, Rhode Island. That’s plenty of rounds of golf played by the Milford resident and rising senior at Notre Dame-West Haven High School.
But none of those rounds have been played at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, Rhode Island. That will change next month for Boynton. He will represent Connecticut at the National Junior PGA Championship Aug. 9-12.
“It’s 15 minutes away from (where they stay), so it will be nice be able to sleep in my own bed on those tournament nights,” Boynton said. “I feel I know the style of Rhode Island golf courses, which is a pretty good advantage. Maybe I’ll get to play a couple more practice rounds than the other competitors will.”
Boynton, 16, qualified by winning the 41st Connecticut Junior PGA Championship last week at the Course at Yale. He did so in come-from-behind fashion after shooting an opening-round 75 in the 36-hole event.
Boynton trailed first-round leader Arthur Ouimet by six shots. After an opening nine of 4-under-par 31, he found out he stood just two strokes behind Ouimet.
“I hit some wedge shots really close and the putts started dropping,” Boynton said. “So I knew we had some potential (to win). But I still thought (Ouimet) would be tough to beat.”
Boynton said he “made a lot of clutch pars” on the back nine and birdied the par-5 16th. But he three-putted the par-5 18th for bogey. Still, it was a 3-under 67, the lowest competitive round Boynton has ever shot.
Then it was a waiting game to see what would happen.
“After I three-putted, I felt I had no chance to win,” Boynton said. “I heard from a couple of people that (Ouimet) had bogeyed 16 (to fall back into a tie for the lead with Boynton). Then I saw him par 17. At that point, I felt I should go putt in case of a playoff. But as I got there, I heard that (Ouimet) bogeyed the final hole.”
Which meant Boynton won by one stroke.
“At that point, I was kind of like in shock,” Boynton said. “I played such a good round. Now that I think about how big it was and what comes along with it, it’s a real honor. I should be really proud of myself playing in it.”
Boynton is coming off a fine season at Notre Dame, helping lead the Green Knights to a runner-up finish in the CIAC Division II state championship meet. Boynton finished fourth there and at the Southern Connecticut Conference championship meet.
But Boynton felt both rounds could have been better.
“I kind of choked to be honest,” Boynton said. “I was even par in states thru 12 holes, then I bogeyed four of my last six holes. In the SCCs, I tripled (bogey) the last hole. A par would have tied (for low round). Right now, one of the biggest things is focusing on getting back to playing well in the clutch. I’m usually really good playing under pressure. Right now, biggest thing is to focus on mentally being tough the whole entire round.”
His summer schedule includes the Connecticut Junior Amateur next week at Watertown GC and the Northern Junior at New Haven CC the first week of August before heading to the National Junior PGA Championship, a 72-hole event with a cut after the third round.