STRATHAM, N.H. -– Keene, N.H., resident Chelso Barrett came within one match-play victory of winning the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. This week he'll give it another try.
Barrett, who will be a senior at Keene High School in the fall, is among the 156-player field in this year's U.S. Junior Amateur, which begins Monday at The Golf Club of New England in Stratham, N.H.
“I like [the course],” Barrett said following Sunday's practice round. “It has a lot of New England characteristics design-wise. It favors somebody who plays the percentage shots. It's not a course you can get overly aggressive on.”
Jordan Spieth, the low amateur at last month's U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, beat Barrett 6 and 5 in last year's championship match at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. Spieth, who also won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2009, is not in this year's field. Spieth and Tiger Woods are the only players who have won the U.S. Junior Amateur more than once. Woods won the event in 1991, 1992 and 1993.
“There's pressure, but it's a good kind of pressure – not a nervous pressure,” Barrett said. “I don't feel like I have to perform for anybody.”
Barrett, who has committed to play golf at Texas Christian University, is one of seven New England residents who will participate in this week's tournament, which features golfers who have yet to turn 18. The others are Brian Butler (West Hartford, Conn.), Jake Shuman (Needham, Mass), David Thompson (Shrewsbury, Mass.), Connor Greenleaf (Windham, N.H.), James Park (Deerfield, Mass.) and Danny Guise (Greenwich, Conn.).
“Making the cut is the first thing,” Greenleaf said. “The top 64 would be great. From then on the more matches I win the better. I'll try to make it as far as I can.”
The tournament will include two days of stroke play, after which the field will be trimmed to the low 64 scores plus ties. A round of match play will be held Wednesday, followed by two rounds of match play on Thursday and Friday. Saturday's championship match is scheduled for 36 holes.
This is the first time the USGA has held a championship in New Hampshire. The event is open to the public at no charge.
Greenleaf's threesome on Monday will include Beau Hossler, who made a name for himself by turning in a strong performance at last month's U.S. Open. Hossler was four shots behind the leader after 54 holes, but tied for 29th after shooting 76 in the final round.
Hossler was the medalist in last year's U.S. Junior Amateur.
“That'll be fun,” Greenleaf said. “Who didn't see him play in the U.S. Open?”
Jim Liu is the only past champion in the field. Liu became the youngest champion in the tournament's history when the prevailed in the 2010 event at age 14.
“Right now it's all about getting to match play,” Greenleaf said.