The CSGA Links Volume 6 Issue 4 August 2018 - Page 15

down against Longshore Golf Club’s Colin Cusa, he won in 19 holes. Then he met—and beat— Brunswick School team- mates Matt Camel and Thomas VanBelle in successive matches. (Camel was arguably the hottest junior in he country, having just won the AJGA Otter Creek Junior Championship in Co- lumbus, Ind., by 10 shots, and the day prior eliminated CIAC Open Champion Chris Fosdick, in 19 holes.) In the quarters against VanBelle, Belcastro was three down after five, but bird- ied seven, ten and 11 to win 2&1. He came from behind again in the semis to defeat Darien’s 16-year-old star, Alexander Gu, 2 up. Fifteen minutes before that match Belcastro discovered a crack in the face of his Callaway Rogue driver. Watertown Head Professional Ian Marshall, a former Junior Amateur Champion, replaced the head and, “within four or five holes” Belcastro had adjusted. “He saved me,” said Connor. What really saved him was his match-play philosophy. “A lot of people try to play match play really aggressively, try to make birdies at all costs and end up making some big num- bers. I try to make birdies the old fashioned way, when they’re there.” Belcastro’s cool demeanor could be partially genetic. His parents, Luke and Juliana, have won two Sleepy Hollow Hus- band & Wife Championships, both in playoffs. They debated about attending the final. “He was doing so well with us not be- ing here we thought maybe we shouldn’t come,” said Luke, a six handicap. “But not showing up for the final— they take your parental credentials for that.” Belcastro’s name now adorns a trophy honoring Bill Sal- vatore, the only player to win the Junior Amateur three times— in 1956, 1957, 1958. Salvatore, 77, was on hand to present the trophy. He gratefully acknowledged the CSGA honor. “I’m humbled,” he said. Fifteen-year-olds Ben James, above, and Jack Bosworth, top left, starred in stroke play. Below from left, Matt Doyle and Alexander Gu led Belcastro early in their matches, but fell. U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier Justin Mathew fell to Doyle in the semis, 2&1. CSGA Links // August 2018 15