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Storylines & Facts from the 28th Mid-Amateur

Links: Tournament Field  

On October 5th and 6th, the best mid-amateur players from across the state will head to Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in South Kent, Conn. for the 28th playing of the Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship.

Who Can Play? The championship is open to any amateur golfer in Connecticut who will have reached their 25th birthday by October 5th, 2015, and who has a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 6.4.

A National History: In 1981, 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.

Last Year’s Championship: In 2014, Kevin Foster of Hop Meadow Country Club shot rounds of 70-74-70--214 (-2) to capture the 27th Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship on his home course, winning by two strokes over Philip Perry of Black Hall Club.

Player Storylines:

A total of 75 players will begin their quest for the 28th Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship. 52 players earned their way to Bull’s Bridge Golf Club by qualifying at one of three sites across the state, and 23 players were exempt based on previous accomplishments.

There are a total of five past champions in this year’s field. They are: Kevin Foster (1998 & 2014 Champion), Brent Dietz (2007 Champion), Bill Hermanson (1990, 91, 92, 93 and 2011 Champion), Jim Gentile (1997 and 2004 Champion) and Dave Szewczul (1996 Champion).

Kevin Foster of Hop Meadow CC will look to become the third member of an elite group when he begins play on Monday as the defending champion. Only two players in the history of the Connecticut Mid-Amateur have successfully defended their title – Jeff Hedden (2005-06) and Bill Hermanson (1990-93). Foster also won the Mid-Amateur in 1998 at Hartford Golf Club, and the Connecticut Senior Open in 2004 and 2013.

Josh Cameron of Shennecossett Golf Course will be returning to Bull’s Bridge Golf Course with fond memories, having captured the 10th CSGA Tournament of Champions at Bull’s Bridge Golf Course on September 9th. Cameron fired a round of two under-par 70 that included five birdies, good enough for a one stroke victory.

Philip Perry of Black Hall Club will look to build on his success at the Mid-Amateur the last few years in hopes of capturing his second CSGA major championship. Perry, the 2008 Russell C. Palmer Cup Champion, was runner-up in 2014 and 2013, and also finished third in 2012.

Bill Hermanson of Black Hall Club has had an amazing summer, winning the Senior Match Play Championship, Senior Amateur Championship, and Two-Man Team Championship. The 2012 Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame inductee also finished second at the New England Senior Amateur Championship, shooting a round of 71 to stand two strokes behind the leader before the final round was cancelled due to weather. He will be seeking to capture his sixth Mid-Amateur title, and with a win would become the first player in CSGA history to win the Senior Amateur and Mid-Amateur titles in the same season.

Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation Country Club recently returned from competing in his 27th USGA Championship, the U.S. Senior Amateur at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor, New Jersey. Szewczul advanced to match play with rounds of 74-73—147, but fell to 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion George Zahringer, 2 and 1. Szewczul also qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship earlier this summer, and at age 61, was the second oldest player in the field of 312 players.

At 22 years of age, John Flaherty of TPC River Highlands, the current points leader in the Dick Tettelbach Player of the Year race, is ineligible to play in the Mid-Amateur. However, after amassing 815 points over the year, Flaherty clinched his first Player of the Yeartitle. On the other hand, the Dick Siderowf Senior Player of the Year race is hotly contested, as current points leader Bill Hermanson holds a 173 point lead over six-time defending Senior Player of the Year Dave Szewczul. 

With a fourth place finish or better, Hermanson would clinch his first Senior Player of the Year title, while Szewczul will need to win the Mid-Amateur to have a chance at his seventh consecutive title.  Both players have had success at Bull’s Bridge in the past – Hermanson won the 2006 Tournament of Champions with a round of 70 and Szewczul won the 2013 Tournament of Champions, also with a round of 70.

Ben Day of New Haven Country Club will be seeking to become the first player in CSGA history to win both the Russell C. Palmer Cup and the Connecticut Mid-Amateur titles. Day captured the Palmer Cup earlier this year, shooting rounds of 73-66-68—207 and edged John Flaherty on the first playoff hole. He also recently qualified for the U.S. Four-Ball Championship with his brother Daniel Day , shooting a round of 64 at the Country Club of Farmington.

Chet Hrostek of the Golf Club of Oxford Greens captured his first CSGA championship earlier this summer after taking nearly five years off from the game of golf from 2006-11. Hrostek, who also won the Danbury Amateur this year, finished third in last year’s Mid-Amateur Championship.

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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)(3) 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, the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents and the CSGA Scholarship Fund in honor of Widdy Neale.