Bleakie wins junior club tourney

MANCHESTER - In its inaugural event, Cooper Bleakie won the Junior Membership Club Championship at the Manchester Country Club last weekend.

Bleakie cruised to an easy victory, shooting 143 over Saturday and Sunday and finishing 19 strokes ahead of the runner up Danny Favreau in a field of nine golfers.

Bleakie opened the Championship by shooting a 69 on Saturday and taking a 10 stroke lead over Favreau heading into the second day of competition. Going into Sunday, the sizable lead changed his strategy.

"The second day I definitely didn't play aggressive," said Bleakie. "I just didn't want to shoot myself in the foot and have someone else put up a good number and beat me, but I knew I had a pretty good shot to win it after the first day. So, again I just kind of put it in cruise control."

The win - which came on Bleakie's home course - was his first since high school.

"I played in the Vermont amateur this summer, but I'm not a junior anymore so there's not a whole lot of golf tournaments up here," said Bleakie. "I won the sectional tournament when I was a senior in high school."

Bleakie said winning the event at the Manchester Country Club was special for a couple of reasons.

"I've just played a lot there over the years," said Bleakie. I played there when I was a junior and in high school. So, I know a lot of the members so it was pretty nice. It felt good. I've been playing some pretty good golf this summer."

While several of the other golfers had played at Manchester Country Club in the past as well, Bleakie said he felt he had a bit of an edge going into the tournament.

"I obviously know the course pretty well and I'm used to the greens there," said Bleakie. "I've probably played the most golf there [at the Manchester Country Club] out of the guys that were playing at the tournament so it was definitely an advantage."

It didn't take long before Bleakie was able to gain some separation over the rest of the field and develop some confidence as well.

"Pretty much everyone can have nerves on the first few holes. I actually birdied the first three holes of the tournament so [I figured] after the third hole when I was three under after three that I could pretty much just let it go," said Bleakie. "I wasn't hitting it that great, but I knew that I was going to put up a pretty good score that day."

Though he knew Will Tate and Favreau were going to be the top competitors in the tournament, Bleakie said it did not affect his game.

"I didn't know what they were shooting out there so I just went out there and played and just did what I needed to do," he said.

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