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CANTON, Massachusetts – After carding a birdie on the front nine and playing 1-over golf on his back nine, Northampton’s Reilly Fowles (Crumpin-Fox Club) held on to claim the 4th Massachusetts Young Golfers’ Amateur Championship title Monday at Canton’s Milton Hoosic Club. The 11-year old finished his 18-hole round at 2-over par 72, netting 52 points in the Stableford format tournament to best the leaderboard, finishing one point ahead of a pair of fellow competitors and avoiding a sudden-death playoff.
For Fowles, the Championship marked the first time that he had entered the Mass Golf Championship, which is open to boys and girls aged 13 and under. Winning it on his first try made Monday that much more memorable.
“It means a lot to win this tournament,” said Fowles, who will be entering the sixth grade at Northampton’s JFK Middle School this fall. “I have never played in this tournament, and it’s probably my first tournament that I have won in the past year and a half.”
A regular in U.S. Kids Tournament, Connecticut PGA Junior Tournaments and the PGA Junior League, Fowles found himself in the middle of the pack following his first nine, having registered a pair of bogeys to go along with six pars and the key birdie on his ninth hole in his first go-around of the nine hole layout.
On the 9th hole, a par-4 straightaway that ends outside of the Milton Hoosic pro shop, The Crumpin-Fox Club member seems to take advantage of his top-skill, tallying a key birdie that ended up being a difference maker on the scoreboard.
“I finally got my putting under control,” said Fowles. “I hit a nice drive to about 90 yards, took a gap wedge to about 15 feet and then drained the putt for birdie.”
With that momentum, he was able to make the turn at 1-over 36 (26 stableford points) and only made only one bogey in his remaining nine to end his day on a high note – holding the championship trophy.
Despite being one of the younger competitors in the field, squaring off against many competitors who were either a year or two older, Fowles didn’t seem to be intimidated with his opponents, adding, “Since this is played like 900-1000 yards shorter than I usually play, I wasn’t really intimidated. I felt like I could make some birdies.”
With his victory, Riley Fowles joins elite company as one of only four competitors to stand atop the Massachusetts Young Golfers’ Amateur Championship podium. Wellesley’s Michael Thorbjornsen (2015) and Conner Willett (2016), as well as Dedham’s Joseph Lanane (2017) have all been victorious in the event – three competitors who have all gone on to enjoy successful stints on the state and regional junior amateur circuit.
In addition to Monday’s champion, Adrian Curtis (Shaker Hills CC), Ben Catudal (Milton-Hoosic Club), Galen Fowles (Crumpin-Fox Club), Jack Spencer (Cummaquid GC) and Molly Smith (Mount Pleasant GC) were all recognized for their play and received pro-shop credit for finishing amongst the top five on the leaderboard.