Links: Full Results
Difficult scoring conditions were the story after day one of the Connecticut Public Links Championship, being played October 6th – 7th at the Golf Club at Oxford Greens in Oxford, Conn. Philip Boehme of Wheeler Park Golf Course and Richard Malafronte of Hunter Golf Club share the overnight lead heading into tomorrow’s final round after both players shot a round of one over-par 73.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Public Links Championship is a 36-hole stroke play competition that honors the true spirit of public golf in the state. The Public Links Championship is open to Connecticut amateur golfers who have been bona-fide public course players since the start of the calendar year. The championship layout at Oxford Greens opened for play in 2005 and is set up to play at a total of 6,598 yards for the competitors.
Boehme began the day with a steady front nine, making just one bogey on the fifth hole, matched with a birdie on the par-5 eighth. His back nine; however, was quite the opposite. His back nine began with a string of bogies on holes #10-12, but he rebounded with three birdies on his final six en-route to a one over-par total. Playing the final stretch of holes at even-par or better will no doubt be crucial for the eventual champion, as holes #14, 15 and 18 played among the most difficult in Round 1.
On the other hand, Malafronte will be hoping to forget the final stretch of holes when he begins tomorrow's round. Standing on the 17th tee, he was one under-par for the championship and in the lead, but a costly double-bogey 7 on the par-5 dropped him into a tie at 73. With the exception of the blemish on #17, his card was remakable solid and included just two bogies, matched with three birdies.
Both Boehme and Malafronte will enter tomorrow’s final round seeking to win their first CSGA Major Championship, and they will have plenty of contenders. Trailing Boehme and Malafronte by just a single shot are a total of six players – Ross Kronberg, Josh Cameron, Paul Schaeffer, Glen Boggini, Chet Hrostek and Mike Reddy – all of whom shot a round of two over-par 74. Among the group, Kronberg is the most recent CSGA champion, having won the 18th Jerry Courville, Sr. Memorial in September with Peter Ballo. Hrostek also enters tomorrow’s round hoping to avenge last year’s Public Links Championship – he was the overnight leader heading into the final round but eventually finished in fourth place after shooting 76.
Sitting just two shots back alone in 8th place is a familiar name; that of Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation Country Club. The 2011 Public Links Champion, he shot a round of three over-par 75 and is certainly among the favorites to make a move up the leaderboard. Szewczul recently finished second in the Connecticut Senior Amateur Championship last week at Wethersfield Country Club, which wrapped up his sixth consecutive CSGA Senior Player of the Year title by an amazing 1,084 points.
This year’s starting field of ninety-five players was trimmed to the low thirty competitors, plus ties, following the conclusion of the first round. A total of thirty-three players made the cut at a score of 80 (+8) or better, and will play the second and final round tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6th.
The final round will begin at 8:00 a.m., with the leaders teeing off last at approximately 9:40 a.m. Live hole-by-hole scoring will be available for the leading groups online at CTPublicLinks.com.
Continuing the Public Links Tradition
Since its inception in 1986, the Public Links Championship honors the true spirit of public golf and is open to Connecticut amateur golfers who, since January 1st of the current year, have been bona fide public-course players, and who hold a USGA Handicap index not exceeding 9.0. The inaugural championship was played at Stanley Golf Course in New Britain, Conn. and won by Del Kinney, Jr. of Tunxis Plantation Country Club.
The list of players in this year’s field includes names like Dave Szewczul, Tom McCarthy, and Brent Dietz - all past CSGA major Champions. But unlike the Connecticut Amateur or Russell C. Palmer Cup, which attracts many of the state's top junior and collegiate golfers, the Connecticut Public Links is geared toward the working class golfer. The championship attracts every type of golfer; bus drivers, bartenders, firemen, waiters, riveters, engineers, and college professors to compete in a two-day stroke play championship.
The Public Links Championship followed in the footsteps of the USGA’s U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, which was first established in 1922 with the mission of giving exposure to many public-course players who otherwise might not have an opportunity to compete in a national championship. The first U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship was conducted at the Ottawa Park Course in Toledo, Ohio. The USGA had no way of knowing how many players to expect, but a satisfying 140 entries were received. Less than half that number wore golf shoes. The first champion was Eddie Held of St. Louis, who joined a private club soon after his victory and thus became ineligible to defend his title in 1923.
Last year, the USGA announced the addition of its first championship in more than 25 years with the creation of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship to meet a trend at the state and regional level. In exchange; however, the U.S. Amateur Public Links was played for the final time this year in Newton, Kansas. Because the U.S. APL was played in the summer, it allowed collegiate golfers to compete, and in many respects, became a second U.S. Amateur championship. In its continued commitment to public golf in Connecticut, the CSGA will continue its tradition of the Connecticut Public Links Championship for the foreseeable future.