Lincoln Academy junior Kellen Adickes, 16, of Bristol, won the New England boys golf championship on Monday, Oct. 30 at Mohegan Sun Golf Club in Baltic, Conn.
Adickes shot a 69, three under par, to seal medalist honors and become the first LA athlete to win a New England title.
The tournament was sponsored by the Council of New England Secondary School Principals’ Associations. Adickes was familiar with the course, having played it last year for New Englands. He came in third in the 2022 meet.
There was a three-way tie for second place between Caleb Smith, of Connecticut, Jack Breault, of Vermont, and Freeport High School’s Eli Spaulding, who was the 2023 Maine Class B state champion.
Adickes said the conditions for the Oct. 30 meet were “pretty abysmal” with temperatures, hovering between 55 and 60 degrees with a steady drizzle all day.
“It was kind of tricky with changing and soft conditions,” Adickes said.
Despite the inclement weather, Adickes scored par on 13 of the 18 holes with four birdies to finish three under. At the turn, he was at an even par 36, before shooting three under on the back nine.
Although the teenager has won some big tournaments throughout the country, winning the New England championship was Adickes’ “biggest win.”
“It was the finally the breakthrough low score I am capable of and was not able to achieve” during this fall’s high school season, Adickes said.
Adickes has placed third in Class B his junior and sophomore seasons. He was the state runner-up his freshman year.
Adickes said his best tee shot came on the par-three eighth hole, despite an undulating green.
“The hole location was tucked on the left side of green so was really hard to access,” Adickes said. “I hit within 8 feet of the hole.”
He had a couple of big putts, including a “motivating” 18-foot putt on the 14th hole. The back-to-back birdies on the back nine tied him for the lead.
Adickes’ best putt, however, came on the final 18th hole.
“It was an 8-foot, crazy-breaking putt. It had a couple of feet of break in it,” Adickes said. “It was a big putt to give me a buffer from the other guys. That put me up two on the last hole.”
The Mohegan Sun course had its fair share difficulties, with water hazards, bunkers, and some challenging greens, Adickes said.
“It is definitely one of the most difficult golf courses there is,” he said. “The greens are really hilly and tough to read. “
Adickes thought the sixth hole was the hardest.
“It was a Sugarloaf-type hole, really downhill with a dogleg to the right,” Adickes said. “There is a big pond at the end of the fairway and the green is elevated from the fairway. The green has three different platforms on it. The hole was located on the smallest part of the green. It made it hard to get close.”
Adickes made par on the hole.
When he finished his clutch putt on 18, Adickes thought he was only up by one. When he figured out he was two strokes up, he pumped his fist in the air.
“The feeling was awesome and something I had not felt in a while,” he said.
Adickes knew he was the leader, but there were still seven groups to finish. He had to wait about an hour.
“It was painful,” he said. “I was in the clubhouse trying to get my adrenaline to calm down.”
He knew his biggest threat was from Spaulding, who was one under with four holes to play. Spaulding shot a bogey on the 16th hole to go to even, at which point it was borderline impossible for him to catch Adickes.
“It was a sigh of relief,” Adickes said. “It was a happy ending in a very tough high school golf season for me. I was not producing the results I am capable of with swing inconsistencies. I put myself in the right head space to pull that one off.
“I kept practicing. People say golf is 90% mental, and I am on board with that now,” Adickes said. “It gave me confidence to deal with the inconsistencies that have been happening.
Adickes’ home course at Lincoln Academy is Wawenock Golf Club. In the summer he works and plays at Goose River in Rockport. Adickes said he owed a huge thanks to his swing coach Jeff Seavey, who he has worked with for five years, for giving him confidence. Seavey is also the instructor for Florida State University’s Cole Anderson, who was a three-time Class A state golf champion while attending Camden Hills Regional High School.
With a Class B state runner-up trophy and two third places finishes, Adickes will again vie for a state title next fall as a high school senior.
“I will just go out and try hard and give myself the best opportunity I can,” he said.
Adickes has another big tournament coming up, the Hurricane Tour Tournament of Champions, to be held in Florida in December. The tournament is specifically for kids who won a Hurricane Tour event, which Adickes did last December.
He is the son of Jason and Samantha Adickes, of Bristol.