There are a total of 96 players in the field competing for the 13th Russell C. Palmer Cup, of which 61 players earned their way in by qualifying and 35 players were exempt via the Exemption Criteria.
The Russell C. Palmer Cup is branded as the CSGA’s Stroke Play Championship.
The winner of the Championship will have their name engraved on the permanent Russell C. Palmer Cup Quaich. The Scottish Quaich, from which this trophy is derived, is a special kind of shallow two-handled drinking cup that traces back to the 17th century.
Of the 96 players in the field, only 5 have captured the Connecticut Amateur Championship, which is contested over Match Play. They are:
- Evan Grenus, TPC River Highlands – 2015 Champion (Black Hall Club)
- Zach Zaback, TPC River Highlands – 2014 Champion (Lake of Isles)
- Brian Ahern, Wampanoag CC – 1999 Champion (CC of Waterbury)
- Bill Hermanson, Black Hall Club - 1991 Champion (Patterson Club)
- Dave Szewczul, Tunxis Plantation CC - 1978 Champion (Brooklawn CC)
Only two players have won both the Russell C. Palmer Cup and the Connecticut Amateur Championship – Cody Paladino (2013) and Mark Farrell (2004 / 2001). Both Paladino and Farrell have since turned professional.
In the history of the Palmer Cup, no player has successfully defended their title, but 2015 Champion Benjamin Day of New Haven Country Club will be looking to change that trend. Day charged up the leaderboard from eight strokes back on the final day and defeated John Flaherty on the first playoff hole to win his first CSGA title. He and his brother Daniel Day of Clemson, S.C. will be competing in the 2nd U.S. Four-Ball Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club. Last year, the pair advanced to match play in the 1st U.S. Four-Ball at Olympic Club.
Philip Perry of Black Hall Club is the lone past Palmer Cup Champion in the field, and will look to become the first player to win multiple Palmer Cup titles. Perry won his title in 2008 at the Country Club of Waterbury with rounds of 73-69—142.
Finn Boynton, 16, of Milford, Connecticut is the youngest player in the Russell C. Palmer Cup field. Boynton, who was named to the New Haven Register All-Area Boys Golf Team and finished runner-up in the 2015 World Series of Junior Golf, will graduate high school in 2017.
On the opposite end, Jack Bracken, 68, is the oldest player in the Russell C. Palmer Cup field and the CSGA Team Captain. Playing out of Hartford Golf Club, Bracken made history in 2013 by capturing the 68th Connecticut Senior Amateur Championship at Tallwood CC, his first CSGA Major Championship victory. Bracken has competed in seven USGA championships and has also won the Hartford GC Club Championship in four different decades.
Zach Zaback, the 2014 CSGA Player of the Year and 2014 Connecticut Amateur Champion from TPC River Highlands, is hoping that 2016 is the year he can break through to win the elusive Palmer Cup title. Zaback finished third last year, missing out on a playoff by a single shot, and finished sixth in 2014.
Monte Mullen, also of TPC River Highlands, will be seeking to capture his second CSGA title at the Palmer Cup this year, having previously won the Connecticut Junior Amateur in 2010. Mullen, who is working for the CSGA as the USGA P.J. Boatwright Intern, lost in a playoff for the Palmer Cup title to Blake Morris in 2014.
Chet Hrostek of the Golf Club at Oxford Greens made CSGA history last year by becoming the first player to win both the Connecticut Mid-Amateur and Public Links Championship in the same year. Hrostek also won the Brooklawn Invitational and Danbury Amateur in 2015, and finished third in the CSGA Player of the Year race.
Evan Grenus of TPC River Highlands won the 2015 Connecticut Amateur title, and became the first former Junior Amateur Champion to go on to win the Amateur since Kevin Gai of Indian Hill CC (1983 Junior Amateur and 1996 Amateur Champion). He also became just the second player to win the Junior Amateur and Amateur titles in consecutive years, equaling Dick Siderowf’s feat from 1954-55.
Bill Hermanson of Black Hall Club, a 2012 inductee into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame, recorded perhaps the best season of his career by winning both the Connecticut Senior Amateur and Senior Match Play titles en-route to capturing the CSGA Senior Player of the Year title.
Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation Country Club, a 2010 inductee into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame, might not have won the CSGA Senior Player of the Year title last year, but his 2015 campaign was still an impressive one. Szewczul recorded runner-up finishes in the Connecticut and Mid-Amateur Championships, qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship and advanced to match play at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship.
11 of the 14 members of the 2016 Julius Boros Challenge Cup Team, as well as the Team Captain, are playing. They are:
- Brian Ahern, Wampanoag Country Club
- Glen Boggini, Twin Hills Country Club
- Josh Cameron, Norwich Golf Course
- Brent Dietz, Cedar Knob Golf Course
- Bill Hermanson, Black Hall Club
- Chet Hrostek, Golf Club at Oxford Greens
- Philip Perry, Black Hall Club
- John Sawka, Ellington Ridge Country Club
- Dave Szewczul, Tunxis Plantation Country Club
- Michael, Thompson, Glastonbury Hills Country Club
- Zach Zaback, TPC River Highlands
- Jack Bracken, Hartford Golf Club (Team Captain)
Additionally, 4 of the 7 members of the 2015 New England Junior Team are competing in this year’s Palmer Cup. They are:
- Justin Clark, Rolling Hills Country Club
- Connor Looney, TPC River Highlands
- Tim Rotermund, Madison Country Club
- Max Theodorakis, Ridgewood Country Club
Schedule of Events
Monday, May 23rd – Round 1 of stroke play. Cut to the low 39 scores (including ties).
Tuesday, May 24th – Rounds 2 and 3 of stroke play. The players with the lowest cumulative total will be declared Champion .In the event of a tie for the championship, there will be a hole by hole playoff immediately following the conclusion of all rounds beginning on hole 18.