Dan Murphy of H. Smith Richardson Golf Course set the pace at the 30th Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship, shooting a round of two under-par 69 to carry a three stroke lead heading into the final day.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association and presented by the Lincoln Motor Company, the Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship is a 54-hole stroke play competition being played at Black Hall Club on Monday and Tuesday, September 25th and 26th. 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.
On one of Connecticut’s most difficult courses, Murphy made just three bogies matched with five birdies to post the only under-par round of the day. He recorded birdies on #11, 14 and 15 to jump to three under-par for the tournament with just four holes to play. Although a closing bogey on the par-4 18th dropped him to two under-par, it was still an impressive performance for the twenty-six year old who is seeking to capture his first CSGA championship.
“I hit the driver really well today on the front nine, kept it in play with a 3-iron off the tee on the back nine, and made a lot of putts,” said Murphy. “The course sets up well for my game – the course played long today and a lot of the pins were tucked, so having the extra length off the tee and having shorter irons into the green really made a difference. I’ve never really been in this position before, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Murphy is three strokes clear of Mike Kennedy of Mill River Country Club, who posted a round of one over-par 72. Much like Murphy, Kennedy is also searching for his first piece of CSGA hardware. He nearly accomplished that feat earlier this year, as he advanced to the semifinals of the Connecticut Amateur Championship.
Among those within striking distance is Ben Conroy of New Haven CC, whose round of 73 put him in a tie for third and well within striking distance of the lead. Conroy is playing his first CSGA event since regaining his amateur status earlier this year. He advanced to the finals of the 2011 Connecticut Amateur Championship and lost in a playoff in the 2013 Connecticut Open Championship.
A trio of players representing the host club successfully made the cut and will have a shot at the title heading into Tuesday’s 36-hole finale. Rob Neaton (73), Philip Perry (74) and Brian Zito (75) will be looking to become the first player since Kevin Foster (2014- Hop Meadow CC) to win the Mid-Amateur title on their home course.
This year’s starting field of 85 players was trimmed to just 38 competitors following the conclusion of play on Monday, with the cut line falling at seven over-par 78. Players who made the cut will play 18-holes in the morning and 18-holes in the afternoon, with the lowest 54-hole total claiming the title. Four past champions were among those to advance was Raymond Floyd, Jr. (2011 champion - 74), Brian Ahern (2010 & 2012 champion - 76), Dave Szewczul (1996 & 2016 champion - 76) and Chet Hrostek (2015 champion - 78).
The second round begins tomorrow at 7:30 a.m., with competitors playing 18-holes in the morning followed by the final round in the afternoon. Live scoring and updates will be available online at CTMidAm.com and CSGALinks.org.
About the Tournament: 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. 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.
About the Course: Named after a historically important section of Old Lyme, Black Hall Club was incorporated in March of 1965. In 1962, Robert Trent Jones was retained to design and supervise the construction of the course. The inaugural Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship was held at Shennecossett Golf Course in 1988. Black Hall Club hosted the next six Mid-Amateur Championships from 1989-94, as well as the 2006 Mid-Amateur Championship. Most recently, the club played host to the 113th Connecticut Amateur Championship in 2015.