Stephanie Connelly, a senior at Northeast High, will play with 39 of the country's best youth golfers Aug. 2-5 in the prestigious Canon Cup at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills.
The event, which was first played in 1990, pits teams of 20 (10 boys and 10 girls) in a team match-play format similar to the Ryder Cup. The teams, geographically divided by the Mississippi River, are selected according to a ranking system based on players' finishes in national tournaments throughout the year. The top eight boys and girls from east of the Mississippi and the top eight boys and girls from west of the Mississippi automatically make the teams, and team captains pick the remaining players.
"There was a little bit of pressure because I felt like I should be on the team, and I really wanted to make it because I knew it would be so much fun," said Connelly, who was a member of the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team. "I was very excited I got picked. I've been playing really well, and I worked really hard for it."
Connelly was one of the captains' picks on the East team and the only player from the Washington area selected. Six of the girls on the East team are from Florida.
A three-time All-Met for the Eagles who owns two state and three county titles, Connelly said her play has improved greatly in recent months. She said the intense work she did on her swing last year has finally filtered into her game, and the recent changes she has made to the mental side of her play are paying off as well.
"I've been slowing down a little bit and taking my time on my short game a little more," Connelly said. "I've really taken a lot more time looking around and focusing on what kind of shot I'm going to hit."
Connelly recently finished 16th at the Rolex Tournament of Champions in Sunriver, Ore., after finishing third, fourth and sixth in her previous three American Junior Golf Association tournaments. Her third-place showing came at the Randall Parker Shootout at Fieldstone in Greenville, Del. On the 5,724-yard, par-71 course, Connelly shot an even-par 213 over three days, finishing on July 1.
One of the best parts of being able to participate in the Canon Cup, Connelly said, is that she will be able to play the exquisite Caves Valley course. Connelly takes lessons at the club but has played the course only twice.
"I love any chance I get to play there," said Connelly, who will turn 17 a few days before the competition begins. "It's a great course. It's beautiful."
Sheridan an All-Star
Christine Sheridan of Pasadena, a 2002 Spalding graduate, will play for a Washington area all-star softball team that will face the Greek Olympic team Sunday at the University of Maryland's softball stadium in College Park.
The softball team that will represent Greece at the Olympic Games in Athens will play two all-star teams from the Washington area, at 3 and 5 p.m., as part of an East Coast tour designed to help prepare for the Summer Games.
Sheridan, who plays at East Carolina University and was the Conference USA freshman of the year in 2003, will play for "Dream Team I" in the first game Sunday. Brent Lounge of Pasadena is the assistant coach for the team.
Tickets are $5. For more information, visit www.dcasa.org.