Richard Dowling of the Eclub of Connecticut and Evan Grenus of TPC River Highlands each won their semifinal match Thursday afternoon to advance to the 36-hole final of the 115th Connecticut Amateur presented by KOTA Solutions. The state’s most prestigious amateur championship is being conducted June 19th – 23rd at Tashua Knolls Golf Course in Trumbull, Conn.
After needing extra holes to win both his Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches on Wednesday, Dowling put on a dominant performance Thursday. He needed no more than 15 holes to win both his matches, defeating Justin Clark in the quarterfinals by a score of 5 & 3 and Blake Kelly in the semifinals by a score of 4 & 3.
“I just played really steady today and made a lot of par’s,” said Dowling. “I’ve played here for a long time both in junior golf and in college, so I feel really comfortable with the tee shots. I feel like I can hit driver on holes that most players don’t normally hit driver, and I’ve been driving it really well so that’s been the key.”
Dowling graduated from Fairfield University in 2015 where he played on their Division I collegiate golf team. He was also a recipient of the CSGA’s Widdy Neale Scholarship and went on to capture the ECAC Championship as an individual while at Fairfield University. He is making his first appearance in the finals of the Connecticut Amateur, and 2017 also marked his first time qualifying for match play in the event. The 24 year-old from Shelton shot rounds of 68-72—140 (-4) to grab the #5 seed.
“I’m just looking forward to having fun tomorrow,” said Dowling. “I’ve come a long way and I’m just happy to be here.”
On the other side of the bracket, Grenus, the #11 seed, is in familiar territory. Dating back to 2013 where Grenus lost in the finals of the Connecticut Junior Amateur, he is 18-1 in CSGA match play events. The 2014 Connecticut Junior Amateur Champion and 2015 Connecticut Amateur Champion hopes to carry that momentum into the final match, where he will be looking to equal Zach Zaback’s feat by winning two Amateur titles in a three year stretch.
“Match play definitely brings out the best in my game, and I feel like the more matches I win, the more confidence I gain,” said Grenus. “The course really suits my game and I’m looking forward to a great day tomorrow.”
In his semifinal match against Michael VanDerLaan, Grenus made five birdies and an eagle to win by a 2 & 1 margin, shooting six under-par for 17 holes. He equaled his impressive morning performance with four birdies against Mike Kennedy of Mill River Country Club to win 5 & 4, securing his place in the Connecticut Amateur finals.
The 36-hole final begins at 7:30 a.m. and live hole-by-hole scoring of the final match will be available at CTAmateur.com. Fans can also follow the CSGA on Twitter @CSGALinks for real-time updates of the match.
7:30 a.m. - Richard Dowling, Eclub of Connecticut vs. Evan Grenus, TPC River Highlands
Richard Dowling, Eclub of Connecticut def. Blake Kelley, Manchester Country Club, 4 and 3
Evan Grenus, TPC River Highlands def. Mike Kennedy, Mill River Country Club, 5 and 4
Blake Kelley, Manchester Country Club def. Christopher DeLucia, Norwich Golf Course, 1 up
Richard Dowling, Eclub of Connecticut def. Justin Clark, Rolling Hills Country Club, 5 and 3
Mike Kennedy, Mill River Country Club def. Chris Simione, Race Brook Country Club, 2 and 1
Evan Grenus, TPC River Highlands def. Michael VanDerLaan, Eclub of Connecticut, 2 and 1
About the Connecticut Amateur Championship
The Connecticut Amateur Championship is one of the nation’s oldest state amateur golf championships and is one of 19 championship tournaments conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association. 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.
About KOTA Solutions
KOTA is your premier resource for everything copy, scan, send, managed print, production print and visual communications in Southern New England. KOTA, a Mohegan LDI Enterprise, has been recognized by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council as a bona fide Minority Business Enterprise. For more information, visit their website at KOTASolutions.com.