Beauton the Conference Player of the Year, Junior PGA Champ for Guilford Golf
Guilford’s Andrew Beauton has had a banner year on the golf course. He finished the 2023 high school season as the Player of the Year for the Southern Connecticut Conference. He followed that up with a No. 1 finish at the CT Junior PGA Championship in June. The Junior PGA title earned him a spot on the national level this August, where he will be playing at the PGA of America Junior Championships in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Andrew captured the CT Junior title with a bogey-free six-under par 66 in the opening round, followed by an even-par 72 to secure the championship the next day. He views the Junior PGA title as the highlight of his year thus far and a landmark in his young career.
“Winning the Junior PGA Championship was a big step in my career so far,” says Andrew. “Being able to go out and shoot six-under, was my lowest round ever. Everything was really clicking that day, the putting, the driving, and that was a really good confidence booster.”
This was the second consecutive year for Andrew competing in the tournament, which was again held at the Tumble Brook Country Club in Bloomfield. His 2023 score bested last year’s by nearly 20 strokes. He brought that experience with him to the course this year and feels it played a big role in bringing home the hardware this time around, especially heading into the second day.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work since (last year’s tournament) and I knew the course coming in, I knew which holes I could really attack and which to stay passive with,” says Andrew. “I think all the work I’ve been doing paid off that day…I know everyone’s going to make bogeys, everyone’s going to screw up at some point so just try to get it back…just hit one good shot at a time.”
Andrew was introduced to the game by his father when he was four years old. His dad instilled a love for the game of golf that he has continued into his high school career. Andrew has not had a professional coach and instead relies on his own drive and focus, meticulously studying his swing, which allows him to tweak it when any issues arise.
“(My dad) has always been there for me, he’s always put me in tournaments,” says Andrew. “He’s the one who got it all started, but I’ve pushed myself and watched my own game, watched my swing and I’ve kept myself going with that, but he got it all started.”
Andrew has spent hours on the greens of Pine Orchard Country club in Branford, where Joe Starzec was the Golf Pro. Over the years, Joe has watched Andrew grow up within the sport. From a young age, he knew Andrew was a different type of player from his peers.
“When Andrew was 8 or 10 years old he knew what he wanted to do in the game of golf, “ Joe says. “I’m sure he had a plan for what he wanted to do. He’s been a single sport kid his whole life, he’s kind of like Tiger was a single sport kid too, that’s all he wants to do is play golf.”
Joe praises Andrew’s short game, crediting it with his early success while playing against older competition. As he progresses within the CT and national golf scene, Joe feels the biggest improvement in Andrew’s game has been the mental aspect.
“Most kids have a temper, and that’s the only way he would ever shoot a high score, if he lost control of his emotions he could be beaten,” says Joe. “But now he’s got that, he’s mentally tough…You’re going to have to beat him, he’s not going to lose with a mistake.”
The strong mental aspect of his game is something that does not happen by accident. At 16 years old, Andrew already has more than a decade of golf under his belt and is cognizant of the strain the game can put on players’ psyche. He prides himself on staying cool when a round does not go as planned.
“I just love how it’s individual, it’s all on you and it’s probably the most mentally challenging sport,” Andrew says. “Anything can happen and being able to stay in control will win you championships.”
Andrew shares that mental calmness with one of his favorite professionals currently on the PGA tour, two-time major champion Dustin Johnson.
“I like Dustin Johnson, I’ve always liked him, he’s very modest on the course,” says Andrew. “He keeps his emotions in control and he hits the ball far, I admire his game.”
Andrew has a clear vision for where he hopes golf will lead him next, both in the final two years of high school and beyond.
“Next year my goals would be to do the three-peat, which would be the SCC, then the state, then the State Open, that’s my biggest goal for high school,” Andrew says. “I’m going to keep working as hard as I can, I want to go play D1 in college, that would be a lot of fun, and then hopefully I’d like to play professionally.”
Andrew, who will be just a junior this fall, is well on his way. The next stop for his summer tour is the 2023 PGA High School Golf National Invitational at Fields Ranch in Frisco, Texas. Andrew opened the tournament with a two-under par first round. The tournament runs from July 17 to 19 and features the nation’s top high school talent.