Sean Gaudette of The Course at Yale shot rounds of 71-73—144 for an even-par total to claim the R.M. Grant Medalist honor and the overall number one seed at the 112th Connecticut Amateur. The state’s most prestigious amateur championship is being conducted June 16th – 20th on the North and South Courses at Lake of Isles in North Stonington, Connecticut.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Amateur Championship is one of the nation’s oldest state amateur golf championships. The challenging format tests the state's best amateur golfers over two rounds of stroke play to determine the low thirty-two match play qualifiers. Two rounds of match play each day culminate in a thirty-six hole final to crown the top amateur player in Connecticut.
After holding the overnight lead following a round of one under-par 71 on the more challenging North Course, Gaudette followed up his steady play with a one over-par round of 73 on the South Course. He opened up his round with a pair of birdies on holes #4 and 5 to move to three under-par for the championship, but followed it up with bogies on #6, 8 and 9, which proved to be the hardest stretch of golf on either course.
From there, it was smooth sailing for Gaudette, who played his back nine with seven pars, one birdie and one bogey, good enough for a round of 73 and the clubhouse lead. As the wind picked up during the afternoon wave, scores began to rise and at day’s end, his even-par total was good enough to claim the top seed. This year will mark his second trip to match play at the Connecticut Amateur Championship. He previously advanced to the Round of 32 in 2010 at Race Brook Country Club.
Gaudette will be hoping to be just the thirteenth player in the one hundred-twelve year history of the championship to claim medalist honors and then go on to win the title. The last player to do so was in 2003, where Justin Goodhue of Glastonbury Hills CC dominated Wampnaoag Country Club on his way to victory. He will begin his quest against William Smittle of Great River Golf Club, who earned the final spot via a six-man playoff. Gaudette and Smittle have played against each other on numerous occasions, as they both play collegiate golf for Yale University and Sacred Heart University, respectively.
Among the notable players to claim a top seed in match play include 1978 Connecticut Amateur Champion Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation Country Club, who fired rounds of 72-73—145 (+1) to claim the number two seed. Szewczul’s steady play off the tee and precise iron game could serve him well on a course that demands accuracy and exactness on nearly every shot. Szewczul is no stranger to match play, having recently captured his third consecutive Senior Match Play Championship and fourth overall just two weeks ago. Szewczul will face Eric Bleile of Sterling Farms Golf Club at 9:20 a.m.
None of the four semifinalists from 2013 returned for this year’s championship, but three of the 2013 Quarterfinalists - Jeffrey Evanier of EClub of New Haven, John Flaherty of TPC River Highlands and Benjamin Day of New Haven Country Club - all successfully advanced to match play. Flaherty, who claimed the highest seed among them (#5 seed) is certainly a pick to make a deep run after shooting the low round of the day on Tuesday (One under-par 71). He finished Runner-Up in the 2014 Russell C. Palmer Cup Championship last month, losing to eventual champion Blake Morris on the fourth playoff hole.
2014 marks the first time that the Connecticut Amateur Championship will be conducted on two different courses, and the first time that any round of the competition will be contested on a public course. Competitors played the North Course (public) on Monday and the South Course (private) on Tuesday. Both courses played to a par of 72 and measured nearly 6,900 yards for the tournament, with the North Course playing just under one stroke harder.
The Round of 32 and Round of 16 will be played on Wednesday beginning at 8:00 a.m., and the championship will conclude on Friday with a 36-hole final. For more information and live scoring, visit CTAmateur.com.
Making “The Cut”
This year’s starting field of 111 players began the stroke play qualifying portion of the championship with hopes of earning one of the coveted thirty-two spots in match play. At the conclusion of Tuesday’s play, the cut fell at 154 (+10), with a six-man playoff needed to determine the final two spots. Eric Bleile of Sterling Farms Golf Club and William Smittle of Great River Golf Club both advanced in the playoff to grab the final two seeds.
Amateur Team Championship
The Connecticut Amateur Team Championship is conducted concurrently with the Connecticut Amateur Championship and dates back to the founding of the CSGA in 1899. Any golf club represented by three of more contestants in the Amateur Championship is automatically entered into the team championship, with the lowest three lowest 18-hole scores per club counted toward the team total.
The team of TPC River Highlands, host of the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship, built upon their lead from Monday to successfully capture their first Amateur Team Championship. The club, represented by seven players in the field, shot rounds of 224-220--444 to win by twenty-two shots. Even more impressive, the club will have four players represented in the Round of 32 matches on Wednesday, where one of the four hope to bring the Amateur trophy back to TPC River Highlands for the first time.
Schedule of Events
Wednesday, June 18th - Round of 32 Matches (AM)- North Course
Wednesday, June 18th - Round of 16 Matches (PM) - South Course
Thursday, June 19th -Quarterfinals (AM) - South Course
Thursday, June 19th - Semifinals (PM) - South Course
Friday, June 20th - Final Match (36 Holes) - South Course