Day one of the 28th Connecticut Mid -Amateur Championship concluded with three players tied atop the leaderboard at two over-par. Chet Hrostek of the Golf Club at Oxford Greens, Steve Wagner of the Country Club of Farmington, and Shawn Hilario of Wampanoag Country Club all shot rounds of 74 to share the clubhouse lead heading into the 36-hole finale on Tuesday.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship is a 54-hole stroke play competition being played at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club Monday and Tuesday, October 5th and 6th. The championship is open to bona fide members of a CSGA club who are twenty-five years of age and over by the start of the tournament.
Windy conditions and lightning-fast greens greeted the players as they made their way around the 6,817 yard, par -72 layout at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club, which was designed by Tom Fazio and opened for play in 2004. On a day which saw the scoring average jump to 82.09, making pars was no doubt the biggest key to success for the leaders. Hilario played remarkably steady throughout the day, making thirteen pars and two birdies matched with two bogies and a double bogey on the difficult par-3 16th. After opening with three bogies in his first eight holes, Wagner bounced back with birdies on the 3rd, 6th and 9th holes to shoot a one under-par 35 on his closing nine.
While Wagner and Hilario will be seeking to capture their first CSGA major championship, Hrostek will be looking to add to his collection after winning the 30th Public Links Championship earlier this summer at Fairview Farm Golf Course. Hrostek, who also won the Danbury Amateur this year, finished third in last year’s Mid-Amateur Championship and hopes to become the first player in CSGA history to win both the Public Links Championship and Mid-Amateur Championship in the same season.
Standing just one stroke behind the leaders is Josh Cameron of Shennecossett Golf Course, who shot a round of three over-par 75 that included an eagle on the par-5 18th. Cameron won the 10th Tournament of Champions this fall, which was also played at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club, with a round of 70. Ben Day, the 2015 Russell C. Palmer Cup Champion, and Shep Stevens, both of New Haven Country Club, both stand two strokes back after rounds of 76.
A trio of past CSGA Champions stand just three shots back and well within striking distance after rounds of five over-par 77 - Dave Szewczul (1996 Mid-Amateur Champion), Philip Perry (2006 Palmer Cup Champion ), and Tom McCarthy (2009 Palmer Cup Champion). Also shooting 77 was Peter Davison of Rockledge CC, Jon Denote of the CC of Farmington and Kyle Nolin of Middlesex Eclub.
This year’s starting field of seventy-five players was trimmed to the low thirty players, plus ties after the first round. At day’s end, the cut line fell at 81 (+9) with a total of 32 players making the cut. Among the notables to make the cut included defending champion Kevin Foster of Hop Meadow Country Club, who look to make a move up the leaderboard in hopes of becoming the first back-to-back champion since Jeff Hedden (2005-06).
With 36-holes remaining, plenty of past CSGA champions will be looking to make a big move up the leaderboard when play begins tomorrow. Among the notables making the cut included Mark Vasington, 2014 Senior Amateur Champion ( 78 ), Bill Hermanson, five-time Mid-Amateur Champion ( 79 ), and Jack Bracken, 2013 Senior Amateur Champion ( 80 ).
The Connecticut Mid-Amateur dates back to 1981, when the USGA inaugurated its first new championship for amateurs in four years, the U.S. Mid-Amateur. The Mid-Amateur, for amateur golfers of at least 25 years of age, was instituted as a formal national championship for the post-college amateur. Before the arrival of the Mid-Amateur, the post-college player could compete in the Amateur Championship, sometimes successfully, but these older amateurs faced greater odds. While they fit their golf around their work and families, they were most often competing against college golfers, for whom the game is close to a full-time activity.
Seven years after the birth of the U.S. Mid-Amateur, the CSGA instituted its first new championship in six years with the inaugural playing of the Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship in 1988 at Shennecossett Golf Course, won by Daniel Hendrickson.
The second round begins tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., with competitors playing 18-holes in the morning followed by the final round in the afternoon. Live hole-by-hole scoring and updates will be available online at CTMidAm.com.