Links: Full Results
Brent Dietz of Cedar Knob Golf Club captured the 28th Connecticut Public Links Championship at Manchester Country Club on Tuesday, shooting a final round three under-par 69 to win by three strokes.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Public Links Championship is a 36-hole stroke play competition being played at Manchester Country Club on Monday and Tuesday, September 30th and October 1st. Honoring 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 was originally designed in 1917 and is set up to play at a total of 6,220 yards for the competitors.
After shooting a round of even-par 71 on Monday, Dietz entered the final round two strokes back of overnight leader Chet Hrostek of Oxford Greens Golf Club. Paired in the penultimate group, Dietz played an incredibly steady round of golf, making a totalfive birdies and just two bogeys late in his round. On a day when the leaders fell back to the field, he capitalized on his straight driving and accurate iron game to move up the leaderboard.
Brent Dietz, 28th Connecticut Public Links Champion
Dietz began his day with a birdie on the second hole, followed by a string of eight consecutive pars to make the turn in one under-par. Another birdie on the short, drivable par-4 10th, and suddenly he found himself on top of the leaderboard.
As the leaders began to falter, Dietz hit the shot of the tournament on the downhill par-3 12th hole. Playing only 144 yards for the competitors, the hole features an incredibly difficult green complex that severely penalized a poorly played shot. In fact, as the shortest hole on the course, it played as the seventh hardest hole for the tournament. Standing on the tee with a share of the lead at two under-par, Dietz fearlessly fired right at the pin. His shot landed five feet from the hole before trickling up to a mere two inches - a virtual tap-in for his third birdie of the round.
As Dietz was making his move up the leaderboard, the leaders continued to find trouble. Hrostek, who shot 69 on Monday to carry a one shot lead into the final round, opened his round with five straight pars before making a costly double bogey on the difficult par-4 6th hole. Craig Dubois, also playing in the final group, began his day with a pair of birdies on #4 and #5 before making back-to-back bogey’s on #6 and #7 to fall out of contention. Michael Zagaski, looking to capture his first CSGA major championship on his home course, had the best round of the day going before making a costly triple-bogey 8 on the par-5 14th hole.
Although Dietz would bogey Holes #15 and 18 coming in, he matched it with a pair of birdies on #16 and 17. A back nine score of two under-par 34 was all that was needed for a dominating three stroke victory and his first Public Links title.
The 28th Public Links Championship marks Dietz’s fourth career CSGA major championship, having previously captured both the Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship in 2007 and the Tournament of Champions in 2007 and 2012. Although his round of 69 was impressive, bettered only by a 68 shot by runner-up Bret Lawrence, it is three shots off his best round at the par-72 Manchester Country Club layout. Among his many competitive accomplishments include shooting a six under-par 66 on the same course to capture the Manchester Open in 2010, a tournament he also won this year.
"Manchester Country Club is a perfect tournament course for me, and I've had a lot of great memories there," said Dietz. "To be able to win at Manchester again today is really special."
A win by Dietz also marks the second CSGA major championship trophy that will be headed back to his home club. Earlier this year, professional Jeff Curl, also a member of Cedar Knob, captured the 79th Connecticut Open title at Torrington Country Club. Dietz is one of only two players to win both the Connecticut Public Links and the Connecticut Mid-Amateur in their career, matched only by Dave Szewczul (1992, 1993, 1995 and 2011 Public Links Champion, and 1996 Mid-Amateur Champion).
Finishing in a tie for second was Bret Lawrence of Crestbrook Park Golf Course, who shot the low round of the tournament with a four under-par round of 68 that featured only a single bogey on his finishing hole. Joining Lawrence at even-par 143 was Michael Zagaski of Manchester Country Club, who shot rounds of 70-73 for a strong finish on his home course.
The 2013 Connecticut Public Links was contested at Manchester Country Club for the first time in tournament history. The club opened in 1917, originally designed by Tom Bendelow and Deveroux Emmet, two of the most renowned architects from the early 20th century. It was subsequently redesigned by A.W. Tillinghast in 1935, architect and course designer of Bethpage Black and Winged Foot, among many others. Manchester CC has previously hosted four CSGA major championships, which include three Connecticut Senior Amateur Championships (1981, 1983, 2008) and one Connecticut Junior Amateur Championship (1948).