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83rd Connecticut Open Championship

Championships

Storylines & Facts from the 82nd Connecticut Open

Links: 2016 Field  

About the Course: Woodway Country Club was founded in 1916, with the present championship course designed by Willie Park, Jr. Park was responsible for designing over 170 courses throughout the world, including Maidstone Golf Club, Olympia Fields Country Club, New Haven Country Club and Shuttle Meadow Country Club. Renowned golf course architect and Willie Park historian, Mark Mungeam, restored the course to its original splendor in 2007.

Familiar Grounds: The 2016 Connecticut Open will mark the fourth time that Woodway Country Club has played host to this prestigious event. The club has previously hosted the Connecticut Open in 1964, 1983 and 1995, the Connecticut Amateur in 1928, 1937, 1971 and 2009, and co-hosted the Connecticut Senior Amateur in 1963.

Qualifying: The championship field is limited to 156 players, with 96 of those players gaining entry through one of six 18-hole qualifiers. The remaining 58 players are exempt from qualifying based on the criteria set forth by the CSGA Competitions Committee.

What’s at Stake: The championship is contested over 54-holes of stroke play, with 156 players vying for the title. Professionals will be playing for a total of $50,000, the highest purse in championship history, with the champion taking home a winner’s check of $12,500.

By The Numbers:

4- The most CT Open victories for an individual (Kyle Gallo & John Golden)

11- The number of times the Connecticut Open Championship has been successfully defended.

25- Longest number of years a champion has ever gone between winning two Connecticut Open Championships (John A. Gentile: 1970, 1995)

200- The 54-hole scoring record at a Connecticut Open, recorded by Ken Green in 1992 at Ridgewood Country Club and Kyle Gallo in 2010 at the Country Club of Fairfield.

209- The winning score the last time the Open was held at Woodway CC (John A. Gentile, 1995).

Player Storylines:

A total of 156 players will begin their quest for the 81st Connecticut Open Championship, of which 82 are professionals and 74 are amateurs. 98 players earned their way to The Patterson Club by qualifying at one of six sites across the state, and 58 players were exempt based on previous accomplishments.

Last Year’s Champion and two-time CSGA Player of the Year Cody Paladino of Wethersfield Country Club will look to become just the twelfth player in tournament history to successfully defend their title. He captured his first professional win last year at The Patterson Club, shooting rounds of 67-69-70—208 to win the title by two strokes. With his victory, Paladino became the first player in CSGA history to have won the Connecticut Open, Amateur, Russell C. Palmer Cup and Public Links.

A total of nine past Connecticut Open Champions are in the 2016 field. They are:

-       Cody Paladino, Wethersfield Country Club – 2015 Champion

-       Frank Bensel, Century Country Club – 2009, 2011 and 2014 Champion

-       Jeff Curl, Cedar Knob Golf Course – 2007 and 2013 Champion

-       Kyle Gallo, Tallwood Country Club – 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2010 Champion

-       Nick Cook (a), Tashua Knolls Golf Course – 2004 and 2005 Champion

-       Steve Sokol, Orange Hills Country Club – 2003 Champion

-       Mike Gilmore, Winged Foot Golf Club – 1997 Champion

-       Ken Green, Ridgewood Country Club – 1985 and 1992 Champion

-       Kevin Giancola, Golf Quest – 1987, 1988 and 1994 Champion

Benjamin James (a), 13, of Great River Golf Club is the youngest player in this year’s field. James earned his spot by successfully qualifying at Mill River Country Club with a round of 76. He won the US Challenge Cup’s Spinal Technology Junior Classic this spring, and finished runner-up in the AJGA Junior All-Star event at Windham Mountain Resort.

On the opposite end, Ray Underwood (a), 62, of Torrington Country Club is the oldest player in the field and is seeking to capture his first individual CSGA title. Underwood was a semifinalist in the 2012 Senior Match Play Championship and won the 2014 Four-Ball Championship at Yale with partner Addison Owens.

Local qualifying was conducted at six sites across the state for those players who were not exempt. The qualifying medalists at the respective sites were:

-         Mill River Country Club - Peter Ballo, Woodway CC – 68 (-2)

-         Heritage Village Country Club – Wally Gonzalez, Golf Performance Center – 66 (-5)

-         H. Smith Richardson Golf Course – Max Adler, Oak Hills Park GC – 69 (-3)

-         Pequabuck Golf Club – Joshua Edelson, CC of Farmington – 67 (-2)

-         Fox Hopyard Golf Club – Robert Glass, Sterling, Conn. - 67 (-4)

-         Lake of Isles - Brian Carlson, Clinton CC – 70 (-2)

 

Adam Rainaud of Black Hall Club will begin the Connecticut Open Championship hoping to use it as a springboard to his third PGA Tour event. Rainaud recently shot rounds of 63-71—134 to earn his second berth in the Travelers Championship, which begins the week following the Connecticut Open Championship. He previously competed in the 2014 Travelers Championship and 2015 PGA Championship.

Frank Bensel of New Canaan, Conn. is seeking to join Kyle Gallo and John Golden as the only players to win the Connecticut Open four times. Bensel recently finished runner-up at the 97th Westchester Open at GlenArbor Golf Club earlier this season, and won the Metropolitan PGA Assistant Championship last September.

Mike Gilmore, the 1997 Connecticut Open Champion and Head Professional at Winged Foot Golf Club, recently qualified for the U.S. Senior Open at Upper Montclair Country Club by shooting a round of four under-par 68.  In the 2014 Connecticut Open, he shot a final round of nine under-par 62, which broke the previous course record by two shots, and vaulted him into an eventual tie for seventh place.

Zach Zaback of TPC River Highlands has gotten off to one of the best start’s in CSGA Amateur history, winning both the Russell C. Palmer Cup by six strokes and the Connecticut Amateur Championship by a final margin of 9 and 7. Zaback began his afternoon match of the 36-hole at the Amateur with a 6-up advantage after shooting 64 in the morning round, and proceeded to make a hole-in-one on the 332-yard opening hole at Wethersfield Country Club. His ace on the 1st hole was the first ever recorded in the 100-year history of Wethersfield Country Club. The 2016 Connecticut Open will mark Zaback’s debut as a professional.

Although Zaback won the first two CSGA major championships of the season, he only holds a 245 point lead over Corey Birch (a) of Silver Spring Country Club. Birch finished runner-up at the Russell C. Palmer Cup and lost to Zaback in the final match of the Connecticut Amateur. In last year’s Connecticut Open, Birch shot an opening round of six under-par 65 and eventually finished in a tie for thirty-ninth place.

Clark Robinson (a) of Ellington Ridge CC and Paul Pastore (a) of Greenwich, Conn. both successfully advanced through sectional qualifying for the 116th U.S. Amateur Championship, which begins August 15th at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan.

At age 17, Andrew Franz (a) of Ridgefield Golf Course is the second youngest player in the field and will be competing in his first Connecticut Open Championship after earning an exemption for his victory in the 75th Connecticut Junior Amateur at Watertown Golf Club. Franz was three down with three holes to play and made an improbable comeback, defeating Matt Bornstein on the 20th hole.

Two-time Connecticut Open Champion Jeff Curl of Cedar Knob Golf Course is competing in his first Connecticut Open since winning the title in 2013. Curl recently won the New England Open Championship at The Quechee Club in Vermont with a two round total of ten under-par.

2015 CSGA Player of the Year John Flaherty (a) of TPC River Highlands claimed low amateur and runner-up honors in last year’s Connecticut Open at Woodway, coming up just two strokes short of Cody Paladino. Flaherty is one of seventy amateurs in the field who will be looking to become the first player since Jeff Hedden (2008) to win the Connecticut Open as an amateur.

Kyle Gallo of Ellington Ridge Country Club will begin the Connecticut Open Championship looking to become the first player in the eighty-two year history of the tournament to win five titles. Gallo last won the Open in 2010 at the Country Club of Fairfield, tying the 54-hole scoring record of 200 (-10), and has also recorded four runner-up finishes. In addition to his four Connecticut Open titles, Gallo has won the Massachusetts Open Championship (2011), Cape Cod Open (2009 and 2014) and the Maine Open (1999).

Ken Green of Ridgewood Country Club has arguably one of the most impressive resumes in Connecticut Golf history. Green won a total of five PGA Tour events in his career and was a member of the U.S. Team in the 1989 Ryder Cup, in addition to winning the Connecticut Open in 1985 and 1992.

2015 CSGA Senior Player of the Year Bill Hermanson (a) of Black Hall Club is looking add the Connecticut Open to his long list of accomplishments. The 2012 inductee into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame won both the Connecticut Senior Amateur and Senior Match Play titles en route to edging six-time time Senior Player of the Year Dave Szewczul (a) of Tunxis Plantation Country Club by seventy points. Szewczul, who is also seeking to win his first Connecticut Open title, finished runner-up at the Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship last year and qualified for both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur Championships.

There are three pairs of brothers in the field:

- Mike, Jr. and Peter Ballo: Mike was the runner-up at the 2014 Connecticut Open and won the 2006 Connecticut Junior Amateur, and Peter was the runner-up at the 2013 Connecticut Amateur.

- Blake and Chandler Morris (a): Blake, now a professional, won the 2014 Russell C. Palmer Cup, and Chandler recently won the Connecticut PGA’s Ryan Lee Memorial Junior Open.

- Cody and Brent Paladino: Cody is the defending Connecticut Open Champion and currently plays on the  PGA Tour Latinoamerica, and Brent was the 2007 CSGA Player of the Year.

The last Head Professional to win the Connecticut Open when it was played at their own club was Brendan Walsh, now the Head Professional at The Country Club, who won the title in 1996 at The Patterson Club. Michael Crawford, now in his seventeenth year as Head Professional at Woodway Country Club, will look to become the first player from Woodway since Mike Ballo, Sr. to win the Open.

The host club is represented by a total of six players. They are: Mike Ballo, Jr., Peter Ballo, Joseph Carrabino, Michael Crawford, Joe Latino and Daniel Meyer.

The Connecticut Junior Amateur, open to junior golfers under the age of eighteen, has long represented the foundation for building lifelong CSGA champions. A total of six past Connecticut Junior Amateur champions are in the field, all of whom are seeking to win their first Connecticut Open title. They are:

 

-       Evan Grenus (TPC River Highlands) – 2014 Champion
-       John Flaherty (TPC River Highlands) – 2011 Champion
-       Monte Mullen (TPC River Highlands) – 2010 Champion
-       Mike Ballo (Woodway CC) – 2006 Champion
-       Ian Marshall (Watertown GC) – 1997 Champion
-       Gerard Courville (Shorehaven GC) – 1975 Champion

Social Media:

In addition to full championship coverage on our website at csgalinks.org and CTAmateur.com, players and spectators can join the conversation using the hashtag #CTOpen.

- Like Us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CSGALinks

- Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @CSGALinks

- Championship Photos on our Flickr page – Flickr.com/csgalinks

About the Championship: The Connecticut Open Championship is the only CSGA Championship open to both amateurs and professionals. The tournament was first played in 1931, with Henry Ciuci winning the inaugural championship at the Course at Yale.

Schedule of Events:

Monday, July 25th - First Round of Stroke Play - 18 Holes

Tuesday, July 26th- Second Round of Stroke Play - 18 Holes

*The low 40 players including ties will advance to the final round on Wednesday, July 27th

Wednesday, July 27th - Final Round of Stroke Play - 18 Holes

 

Championship Scorecard:

Total Yardage: 6,862 yards / Par 71. USGA Course Rating is 72.6; Slope Rating is 140.

 

Hole #

 1

 2

 3

 4

 5

 6

 7

 8

 9

Total

 Yards

351

464

213

395

579

445

417

371

171

3,445

 Par

4

4

3

4

5

4

4

4

3

35

 

Hole #

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

Total

Yards

391

352

190

330

603

402

451

356

381

3,456

Par

4

4

3

4

5

4

4

4

4

36

 

 

CSGA Corporate Partners

Allied Organizations

About the CSGA

The CSGA functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 50 Championships, Qualifiers and One-Day Tournaments throughout the year, in addition to administering handicaps for over 40,000 members and 181 member clubs. As a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization, the CSGA supports a variety of golf organizations within Connecticut, including the Connecticut Women’s Golf Association, Southern New England Women’s Golf Association, The First Tee, the Connecticut PGA, and the CSGA Scholarship Fund in honor of Widdy Neale.