Tragedy and triumph for local golfer Conner Willett

CONCORD, Mass. — In a story that is both tragic and triumphant, Wellesley’s Connor Willett has made it all the way to the finals of the Massachusetts Amateur Golf Tournament less than a week after his father, Rick, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from complications resulting from a choking incident.

In the world of local golf, Mass Am is a big, big deal. It is put on by Mass Golf and is the local equivalent of the USGA’s US Open, which was recently played at the Country Club in Brookline in June. The similarities of the two tournaments are that amateurs can qualify to play in these tournaments. The Mass Am has only amateur players, but players of all ages. Only the best of the best qualify just to play in this tournament.

Conner Willett is a very good local golfer who is a 19-year-old sophomore at Georgetown University. He and his dad, Rick, played golf out of Charles River Country Club in Newton. The first day of this year’s Mass Am was Monday July 11th. Conner’s dad died the day before, on Sunday. Conner and his family made the difficult decision for him to play and compete. On Monday, the Wellesley native won — and then he won again on Tuesday. The winning hasn’t stopped all week.

With the heaviest of hearts, Conner has made it all the way to Friday’s finals. He and 16-year-old Ryan Downes from Longmeadow will battle it out for the 2022 Massachusetts Amateur Championship. Ryan is the youngest competitor in this year’s tournament and he and Conner are friends.

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