Kevin Foster of Hop Meadow Country Club fired a two under-par 70 in the final round to capture the 27th Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship, winning by two strokes over Philip Perry of Black Hall Club.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship is a 54-hole stroke play competition played at Hop Meadow Country Club on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 19th and 20th. 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.
Foster, who entered the final day just two strokes off the lead after an opening round of 70, shot a round of 74 in the morning round and trailed Perry by two heading into the final round. The tournament tests competitors over three rounds of stroke play, with round one contested on Tuesday and rounds two and three contested on Wednesday.
Playing in the final group with overnight leader David Olender of Ellington Ridge Country Club and Chris Maxwell of Tunxis Plantation Country Club, Foster jumped out to an fast start in his final round, making birdies on Holes #3, 5 and 6. Paired with a pair of back-to-back bogies by Perry on Holes #4 and 5, Foster quickly moved from a tie for second to a three shot lead over the field.
"The first six holes are where you have to make your move out here,” said Foster. “I was fortunate to get off to a great start before the hard stretch of holes began.”
Holes #7-11 played statistically as the hardest stretch of holes on the course, and despite a home course advantage, Foster stumbled with a pair of bogies on the difficult par-4 8th and par-4 11th. After Perry made birdie on the par-5 17th, his lead was down to a single stroke.
"I didn’t quite know where I stood until I reached the 16th green and saw I had a one-shot lead going into the last two holes," said Foster. "Making birdie on the 17th hole was huge, because it made playing the last hole that much easier with a two shot cushion.”
After driving it in the fairway and safely hitting the green in regulation on the closing par-5 18th, a two-putt par was all that was needed to secure his second Mid-Amateur title.
For Foster, today marked his first CSGA championship win in sixteen years, dating back to his first Mid-Amateur victory in 1998 at Hartford Golf Club. Since that time, he has captured a pair of Connecticut Senior Open titles in 2004 and 2013, and finished second in the 2011 Connecticut Senior Amateur, but winning today at his home club is perhaps Foster’s most memorable victory of his extensive career.
“It’s really exciting for me,” said Foster. “It’s been a few years since I won by first Mid-Amateur back in 1998, and I’ve won a couple of [Connecticut] Senior Open’s since then, but winning at your home club is really special. I was fortunate to have a lot of Hop Meadow members and friends out watching today, and that support was really helpful especially on a long day like today where we’re playing 36-holes. I’m really proud to be a member here and it was a great chance for us to show off our golf course to some of the best players in the state.”
For Perry, it was another close call, as a closing round of two over-par 74 left him just two shots off the lead. However, the 2008 Russell C. Palmer Cup has compiled quite an impressive run of finishes in the Mid-Amateur, finishing second in 2013 and 2014, third in 2012 and fourth in 2009.
Finishing alone in third was Chet Hrostek of Oxford Greens Golf Club, who tied Foster for the low round of the afternoon with a two under-par 70 to finish at two over-par for the championship. Chris Maxwell of Tunxis Plantation CC and Tom McCarthy of Twin Hills Country Club, the 2009 Russell C. Palmer Cup and 2013 Public Links Champion, rounded out the top five at four over-par.