Connelly, a 20-year-old from Irving, Texas, with family ties to Clare – where he used to visit and play golf during the summer – was in a two-way tie for third heading into the last day of one of the golfing world’s four major championships.
After rounds of 67 and 72 on the par-70 course, Connelly shot a 66 in the third round, putting him even with American Brooks Koepka with 18 holes to play at the 2017 event in Southport, England.
Connelly eventually finished the tournament tied for 14th place.
Claude Comeau, a board member at the Clare Golf and Country Club, said Connelly’s performance generated quite a buzz around the club, where Connelly played during summer visits to the area and where he became a member.
“The board members were ecstatic,” Comeau said. “The staff were all talking about it. And then the members, especially the junior program, everyone was elated.”
Fellow Texan Jordan Spieth – a good friend of Connelly’s – won the Open with a score of 268 (65, 69, 65, 69). Connelly was 10 strokes back at 278 (67, 72, 66, 73).
Comeau said the Clare golf club had a small tournament the same weekend as the British Open and participants would come in from their round inquiring about Connelly’s progress.
“Youngsters that were playing would come in between holes and (say) ‘Where’s he at? What’s going on?’”
Comeau said Connelly’s success is a product of his commitment and dedication.
Among his accomplishments as a youth golfer during one of his summers in Clare, Connelly won the 2011 Nova Scotia midget championship.
“The banner still hangs proudly in our clubhouse,” Comeau said.