By Matthew Dunn, Contributing Writer
Northborough – A brisk September morning provided the perfect backdrop for 13-year-old Northborough native Eddie Wen and the “495 All-Stars” team at the PGA Jr. League Section Championship, hosted at Watertown Golf Club in Watertown, Conn., Sept. 8 and 9. The close-knit group of junior golfers’ remarkable performance earned them a second-place finish in the tournament, falling to the “Western All-Stars” who will be advancing to the PGA Junior League finals. Eddie, a seventh-grade student at the Robert E. Melican Middle School in Northborough, was joined by nine fellow junior golfers from the surrounding communities.
Despite an exciting championship event, tournament play and competition are not always the primary focus of the PGA Jr. League organization. As Hayley Wilson, PGA Jr. League relations representative pointed out, “At its core, [the] PGA Jr. League is all about the developmental and recreational nature of the regular season, which saw 50,000 boys and girls this year. The postseason is for the 20 percent of PGA Jr. League players who identify as competitive golfers to showcase their talents and celebrate a great regular season.”
Enthusiasm and interest in the PGA Jr. League is steadily growing within the New England region, according to Wilson.
“This year, there were about 3,400 PGA Jr. League players throughout the New England PGA Section, which increased from 2,800 in 2017,” she noted.
This year’s Section Championship tournament was a two-day event, with all four teams playing a full 18 holes on the first day, competing for the top spot in a match play setting.
“I am happy with our second-place finish, there were many tight scores and this is the first year I’ve played in this tournament,” said Wen.
With more and more interest and participation in the New England section of the PGA Jr. League, talented junior golfers have many opportunities to display their gifts every year.
“I really like the competition and seriousness, and the importance of playing by the rules,” Eddie said. “I’ve also played in USKG [U.S. Kids Golf] and NEPGA [New England PGA Jr.] tournaments previously and love to be able to react to how I play in the tournament.”
Balancing competition and fun is of great importance in any junior athletic organization, something Eddie recognizes.
“My favorite part of playing in the PGA Jr. League is the friends, teammates and different types of people I get to meet, as well as all the different courses I get to play,” he said.
Eddie was introduced to the game of golf when he was 7; he has been involved with the PGA Jr. League for three years.
“I want to keep playing,” he stated. “I hope to play in high school, college, and hopefully one day as a professional.”
Eddie is supported by his mother, Dianna.
“I love the team spirit, friendships, and competitive fun,” she explained.
Eddie has is eyes on a future in golf, and one day hopes to make it to the biggest tournaments in the world; for now, however, it’s the friends, teammates, and fun that keeps him and thousands of other junior golfers throughout New England coming back to play in tournaments.